Hawaiian tuna poke for beginners

Hawaiian Mango Tuna Poke
Hawaiian Mango Tuna Poke

Hawaiian tuna poke for beginners

If you have never been to #Hawaii, no worries, you can make one of the island’s most popular treats at home. Regardless of when you live!

Pronounced po-kay, this raw fish salad – usually made from tuna – is typically served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine, and sometimes as an entree. Poke is the Hawaiian verb for “section” or “to slice or cut.”

The most popular fish to make poke from is tuna. Outside of that you are talking ceviche, which is a whole other (favorite) topic. The key to making good poke is using very fresh, or high quality previously frozen fish. Does the latter surprise you? Here is why using frozen fish makes sense – the freezing process kills any critters that may be hanging around in your fish.

You should know that there are parasites that are present in certain kinds of fish. Don’t worry, they’re a natural occurrence, not caused by contamination, and according to Seafood Health Facts two types of parasitic worms can infect humans – Anisakiasis is caused by ingesting the larvae of several types of roundworm [aka nematodes] which are found in saltwater fish such as cod, plaice, halibut, rockfish, herring, pollock, sea bass and flounder. Tapeworm infections occur after ingesting the larvae of diphyllobothrium, which is found in freshwater fish such as pike, perch and anadromous (fresh-saltwater) fish such as salmon. For anyone you wish to feed that is pregnant, elderly, very young, or has a compromised immune system this is vary important.

It was not my intent to gross you out, but rather to help you understand that “fresh”, meaning “never frozen” is not always the best option. If you want to make poke and aren’t familiar with your fishmonger, then I’d suggest going for frozen fish. I have used fish that is seconds from the water to frozen fish with great success and no illness.

Poke is created in the same vein as ceviche. This Hawaiian classic is casual and is the kind of dish that you pack into a cup for the road, enjoy on the beach listening to reggae or the sounds of the waves crashing against the shore. However, you will find it in high-end restaurants.

Fresh Red Mango
Fresh Red Mango

I love to create poke recipes with fruit and serve it with tortilla chips. But I have also served it as a poke bowl with rice, macadamia nuts and veggies. My sister, Leslie, is crazy for poke, so I have had the pleasure of having her as my recipe tester. The best version has always been the most simple – fish, mango, green onion, garlic drizzled with sesame seeds and toasted sesame seed oil. Check out my poke video on YT for a fun recipe.

Toasted sesame oil
Toasted sesame oil

The recipe featured in this photo is simple – tuna, mango, sesame seeds, green onion, sea salt and toasted sesame seed oil.

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I’m Stephanie Harris-Uyidi, affectionately known as The Posh Pescatarian. I’m a sustainable seafood enthusiast and love sharing recipes, education, and tips for making incredible pescatarian meals. I am an industry expert and an authoritative voice on the pescatarian lifestyle. When I’m not working on new recipes in my lab (AKA: my kitchen!) I enjoy traveling and learning about people, places and culture through food, ingredients, and cooking techniques. I share some of my experiences on my TV show Appetite for Adventure!



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