Hawaiian Ahi Poke

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A Hawaiian classic: Ahi poke is chunks of Ahi tuna and onions tossed in a sesame soy sauce marinade. An easy and delicious sashimi style dish.

Ahi Tuna Poke- A Hawaiian classic

Poke, pronounced poh-keh is a Hawaiian word meaning to “slice or cut crosswise into pieces”… But to anyone who is from Hawaii, poke is a popular dish made with chunks of raw ahi tuna tossed in a soy sauce based marinade. My husband is from Hawaii, so whenever we visit his family, he gets his fill of poke along with a few other Hawaiian food staples.

Even though I’m half Japanese, I grew up in a household that doesn’t eat fish. Whaaat?! I have my siblings to blame for that. If my mom cooked fish, they would turn their nose up at it. Because of this, I always thought I didn’t like fish. To top it off, my Japanese mother doesn’t like raw fish, so I NEVER had sushi or sashimi growing up. I thought it was gross. Why would you eat RAW MEAT?!

Anyways, after meeting my to-be husband in college, I was introduced into the world of sushi, and found out that it was actually… really good! However, after years of thinking I couldn’t eat raw fish, it’s still hard to kick that initial feeling of revulsion when I go to eat sashimi. I usually do better with maki (rolled) sushi where there’s rice and other things to balance it out.

Top view of a bowl of ahi poke, garnished with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

What I’m TRYING to say is… I like this stuff in moderation. I can eat a little bit of it, and then I’m good. When I made this and we had it during lunch, I ate, maybe… 5 or 6 pieces. The flavoring was really yummy! But that was enough for me. My husband, on the other hand, ate like, half of it in one sitting. I’m saying he ate a half pound of raw tuna, people. In one sitting. He loves the stuff. He finished the rest of it off within a day.

Is it weird that I’m posting a recipe that I don’t love? I’m posting this because I know there are lots of people who DO love it. Including my husband. He’s so happy when he eats things that remind him of home, so I am more than willing to make something even if I just sorta pick at.  According to him, this recipe was “spot-on”, and I trust him… he grew up eating the stuff.

If YOU love eating hunks of raw fish, then you should definitely make this ahi poke! Look at it, isn’t it beautiful?

Side view close up of a bowl of ahi poke.
A Hawaiian classic: Ahi poke is chunks of Ahi tuna and onions tossed in a sesame soy sauce marinade. An easy and delicious sashimi style dish.

11 comments

  1. Ginger in poke? Never heard of this. And I’ve never eaten poke in Hawaii with ginger either. More of an Asian ingredient than anything.

    1. Hi Scott, feel free to leave it out if you’d like. A lot of local Hawaiian food has heavy influence from Asian cuisine!

  2. When it comes to poke or sashimi born to eat most anything l can eat that breakfast lunch and dinner but must have rice or poi and kimchee and beer

  3. Hi! Will definitely try your recipe! Wondering if I can substitute the ahi with cooked shrimp as am pregnant now and currently craving for poke!! ? Have you tried it with shrimp/prawns?

    1. Hey Angela! Congrats! I haven’t substituted shrimp, and honestly I would think it would not really be very poke-y if you do… But if you try it out, I’d love to hear how it turns out… I’m really curious now!

      1. 4 stars
        Shrimp works just fine. Any seafood made this way would be POKE. It’s great with octopus, squid, salmon, shrimp, any kind of tuna, mussels, clams, lobster, crab, etc. Try them all out. You can tweak the ingredients to match with the flavor of the particular seafood and use what best compliments it. Have fun!

  4. I would eat raw fish all the time if I could get it super fresh. I miss when my dad would go fishing and bring home fresh fish to make poke. I get my fill when I go back to Hawaii too.

    1. Oh wow yeah that is FRESH fresh! I’m nowhere near the ocean now, so I have to just settle with frozen. That being said, the ahi I used to make this was surprisingly good! I got it at Sprouts market. Guess I just gotta take what I can get.

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