Why It Works
- Sweet onions provide flavor without pungency or heat.
- Fresh lean tuna is complemented by simple seasonings and aromatics.
- Tossing the salad and letting it rest for just a few minutes before serving maximizes flavor development while retaining texture.
Poke (pronounced poh-keh), a raw-fish salad, is like the hamburger of Hawaii, ubiquitous at family gatherings, parties, tailgates, and supermarket delis across the islands. I’ve seen the Hawaiian word poke translated variously as “to chop” or “to cut crosswise,” in reference to the way in which the fish is cut, so perhaps it’s more accurate to say that poke is like the chopped salad of Hawaii. My version features both traditional and modern twists. It’s extremely simple to make (think of it like tossing a salad) and uses very few ingredients.
- 2 teaspoons (about 1g) dried wakame (see note)
- 1 teaspoon (about 0.5g) dried hijiki (see note)
- 12 ounces (340g) raw sashimi-grade tuna, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 ounces (85g) sweet onion, such as Maui or Vidalia, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon (about 3g) white or black sesame seeds, or a mix
- 4 teaspoons (20ml) soy sauce, more or less to taste
- 2 teaspoons (10ml) toasted sesame oil, more or less to taste
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) honey, more or less to taste
- Crushed red pepper, to taste (optional)
- Kosher salt
- Steamed rice (if eating as a meal)
Place wakame and hijiki in separate small bowls. Cover with boiling water and let rest until rehydrated and tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and press with paper towels. Roughly chop wakame. Add wakame and hijiki to a large bowl.
Add tuna, onion, scallion, sesame seeds, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and optional crushed red pepper to bowl. Season with a small pinch of kosher salt and gently fold to combine. Taste and adjust with more soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, or crushed red pepper as desired. Let sit 5 minutes at room temperature, then serve on its own or on top of steamed rice.
Hijiki and wakame are dried seaweeds that can easily be found in any Japanese market.