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Do the Hokey Poké, Hawaiian Style

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By: Elizabeth Winslow
Do the Hokey Poké, Hawaiian Style

Epic sunsets, swaying palms, rainbows, tropical beaches, sweet and juicy pineapple for everyone —these are some of the hallmarks of life in Hawaii. Even if you're stuck on the mainland, you can hasten the balmy days of summer by trying your hand at Hawaii's hottest of-the-moment dish: poké, a fresh, chopped, uncooked seafood salad with bold, bright flavors and spices.

Poké is the Hawaiian word for “cut" or “chunk." Traditionally made with chunks of raw tuna or octopus seasoned with seaweed, sesame, green onions and soy sauce, poké is everywhere in Hawaii, from surf shacks to high-end hotels, and the variations are endless.

The most important guideline to making your own poké is to start with the freshest, sushi-grade fish you can get your hands on. With a super sharp knife, cut the fish into two-inch cubes, and from there, let your imagination run wild. Stick with a traditional recipe, or try one of our creative versions below. Get cooking, put on some surf tunes, chill out and let the mahalo ("gratitude") roll in.

Traditional Poke

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Poké is the Hawaiian verb meaning “to slice or cut”.  This raw fish salad is typically served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Chill Time: 25 minutes

  • 1/4 cup tamari OR soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon Spice Islands® Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 pound sushi-grade ahi tuna
  • 2 teaspoons Spice Islands® Sesame Seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 2 tablespoons slivered, toasted nori seaweed

Combine tamari, sesame oil, grated ginger and crushed red pepper in a glass mixing bowl; set aside.

Cut ahi tuna into 1/2-inch cubes. Add to tamari mixture and toss until well coated. Refrigerate for a minimum of 25 minutes.

Toss again after removing from refrigerator and place in serving bowl. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onion and silvered seaweed.


Start with the traditional recipe and make these substitutions and additions to mix things up:

  • Try a spicy salmon poké with freshly ground lemon pepper and 1/2 teaspoon sriracha spice.
  • Give your poké a Thai twist by adding a teaspoon of Thai red curry spice — top it with toasted coconut flakes.
  • Make a Cajun spice poké by adding a teaspoon of Cajun spice and substituting crawfish tails for some of the tuna.

Elizabeth Winslow is a writer, food blogger, culinary instructor and entrepreneur in Austin, Texas. She is a regular contributor to Edible Austin and creates compelling content for brands both large and small. She has an M.A. in Literature from the University of Texas at San Antonio and teaches cooking classes with Kitchen Underground.

Spice Islands® spices deliver high quality, authentic flavors from all over the world so you can put the most delicious meals on your table.

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