Introduction: Hawaiian-Style Poke

One of my favorite pieces of vernacular from the American South is "bless [his/her] heart."

If you're not familiar, this is an extremely polite way of telling someone that they are being a bit of an idiot, without being too harsh about it. Bless his heart, but he shouldn't have eaten clams he bought at a gas station. She lost a poker game to a bag of hammers, bless her heart. You get the idea.

My wife grew up in the DEEP DEEP south. Like, way deep South. Hawaii deep.

And now, bless her heart, she lives with me in North Carolina.

Of all of the things she misses from back home, the top two would be shaved ice, and poke.

Poke, from the Hawaiian word "to slice," is sort of a Hawaiian ceviche, minus the citrus. It's a really great local dish, with tons of variations. And, with the ready availability of high-quality tuna, you can make it yourself in the comfort of your very own lumikuke.

Step 1: Ingredients and Equipment

The equipment requirement for this recipe is minimal. You will need:

  1. A bowl
  2. A sharp knife
  3. A cutting board

Easy peasy.

As far as ingredients are concerned, there's a good amount of flexibility. The essentials are:

  1. High-quality tuna. Costco sells wonderful Ahi tuna. If you can't get that, though, your local grocery-store sushi counter can probably sell you some mostly pre-sliced sashimi tuna.
  2. Soy sauce. Or tamari, if you don't do the whole gluten thing.
  3. Sesame oil.
  4. Onions of some type. If you're mainland-bound, sweet Vidalia onions are a good substitute for Maui onions. I like scallions, for the extra bite.

Optional ingredients include sesame seeds, rice vinegar, and seaweed salad. Some madmen even like tomatoes, furikake (a dried Japanese condiment containing seaweed, dried fish, and other assorted tasty bits), or chili peppers.

Step 2: Chop!

Cut that which needs cutting. The onions and tuna should both be cut into small bits.

Step 3: Mix!

Mix that which needs mixing. Add the onions, tuna, and any other ingredients to your bowl (we're putting seaweed salad and sesame seeds into ours).

Step 4: Season!

Season to taste. Put in some soy sauce, a hint of sesame oil, and a splash of rice vinegar. Mix again until appropriately uniform.

Step 5: Eat!

You're all done! Throw a shaka, put on some slippers, and enjoy!