I’ve been wanting to try this Hawaiian dish ever since I ran across mention of it in some readings I was doing for other Hawaiian cuisine … the classic or Spam loco moco, and Spam musubi come to mind. However, whenever I had had good quality ahi tuna on hand, I always ended up making something else. A month or two ago, I bought a one pound package of ahi tuna, individually vacuum packed in quarter pound portions. Today’s freezing cold and light snow seems a strange time to make something that’s native to Hawaii’s sun filled shores but it seemed to be perfect for me.
Some recipes use a lot of acid (lemon or lime juice) and marinate the raw tuna for a couple of hours, creating what is an essentially a ‘ceviche’ … where the fish is cooked by the acid. In this version, the pretty pink cubes of tuna are lightly dressed with the marinade and served as soon as possible. A half hour wait in the refrigerator, at most, is acceptable
Appetizer/Starter/First Course … if desired, place the tuna in a shallow bowl and eat with crunchy wonton wedges or tortilla chips
Light Lunch version Quinoa Bowl
Hawaiian Style Ahi Tuna Poke – serves 4
1 pound sashimi/sushi grade ahi tuna, cut into 1/2-3/4 inch cubes
3-4 green onion tops, thinly sliced, reserve some for garnish
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seed oil
1/2-3/4 tsp red pepper flakes, crushed (adjust the amount to your preference)
1/2 tsp sesame seeds (black, white or mixed), plus more for garnish
1 tbsp dry wakame seaweed, soaked in boiling water until rehydrated (~15 min), drained and thinly sliced
1 tbsp dry hijiki seaweed, soaked in boiling water until rehydrated (~15 min), drained
togarashi (dry Japanese chile pepper mixture) or furikake (Japanese sushi rice seasoning)
Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk together. Taste and adjust the sweet/salt/tang level.
Place the tuna and green onions in a medium sized bowl. If using seaweed, add at this point.
Spoon the dressing over the top and toss gently. Divide among serving dishes.
For a pretty appetizer, spoon the tuna into champagne coupe glasses. Sprinkle the garnishes over the top … sesame seeds, more sliced green onion, togarashi etc.
For a light meal, place a half cup of cooked quinoa (or rice) in a bowl and top with the dressed tuna. Garnish.