Tuna poke (po-kay) is a Hawaiian sashimi-style salad that comes in many forms. But the base flavoring of the modern version, made popular in the 70s, remains consistent: a little soy sauce and a little sesame oil. Simple. Sweet Maui onion is almost always featured (though we left this out of our recipe due to the season), and some add chopped tomatoes, fish roe (eggs), seaweeds of many varieties, garlic, and sometimes avocado. For those who like it spicy, a bit of wasabi or sambal oelek (a vibrant and spicy blend of chili peppers, fish sauce, lime juice, ginger, garlic, sugar, shallots and vinegar) can be added to kick it up a notch or two. We opted for a tongue tingling ahi tuna poke recipe using sambal oelek and a pinch of shichimi togarashi, a chili pepper blend from Japan. Look for sambal (in jars) and shichimi (in small spice jars) in the Asian section of your supermarket or you can buy online (see in recipe below for resources).
Spicy Ahi Tuna Poke
Makes 4 servings
Ahi poke is easy to make and is wonderful served as an appetizer. We love to serve it in a bowl with taro chips for scooping. Or, for easy-to-grab apps serve atop charming white won ton spoons. Remember to taste as you go, adding the sambal and shichimi slowly to reach just the right heat as your palate desires.
3/4 pound sashimi grade Ahi tuna steaks
1/4 cup green onion, white and green parts, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Sambal oelek chili paste (or to desired spiciness)
Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese mixed chili powder) to taste
1 tablespoon black and toasted white sesame seeds
Rinse tuna in cold water, pat dry with clean paper towels and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Place in a bowl.
Add remaining ingredients and gently toss. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.