Taste A Little Summer With Hawaiian-Inspired Ahi Tuna Poké
Fast, fresh, and super healthy
I love pumpkin-spiced desserts and gravy-covered meats, and other fall and winter foods. However, after Christmas, I immediately look forward to temperatures above 32’F and days with more than nine hours of sunlight. That’s not happening anytime soon here in Central Oregon, so I wanted to find a way to bring a little summer into my diet. My husband Chris and I made a recent trip to Hawaii – in December. Yes, it was sublimely warm and sunny. After that experience, we wanted to have poké here on the mainland, as a reminder that it’s warm and sunny somewhere.
A few of the most popular Hawaiian dishes are labor-intensive (kalua pork, poi), or not-so-healthy (spam musubi). However, the islands have an amazing abundance of fresh seafood and island-grown fruits. Those fresh foods are what really evoke Hawaii for me.
When Chris and I were in Maui, the unspoken food motto of our trip was “Poké every day.” We are nuts for the delicious, umami-powered raw fish dish. After some research on how to make poké myself (heavy focus on how to avoid food-borne illness when eating raw fish that was caught hundreds of miles away), I found a few recipes that seemed easy enough and healthy.
Speaking of healthy . . . Ahi (or yellowfin) tuna is an awesome source of lean protein. Tuna is also packed with B vitamins, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Add in some fresh fruits and veggies as toppings, and poké is a nutritional powerhouse of a meal.
Poké and fish (food) safety:
- When shopping for raw poké-bound fish (Ahi tuna or salmon), the categories “sushi” or “sashimi-grade” aren’t regulated – they are basically marketing terms. From a food safety perspective, the FDA is concerned with the “parasite destruction guarantee” – freezing fish at -31°F or below and storing at -4°F or below for 24 hours. This process kills parasites, making the fish safe for eating raw when defrosted properly. Trust your senses – if it looks and smells off, don’t eat it raw.
- Ideally, you’ll want to prepare and consume your prepared poké within 24 hours. Check out this article from UC-Davis for specific info on how to tell if your raw fish has “turned”.
Sustainability: Although Ahi tuna caught in the US is most likely from a sustainable source, but it’s always a good idea to verify. Ask your fishmonger or check seafoodwatch.org before buying.
This recipe is adapted from Sweet Tea & Thyme, a lovely blog by Eden Wesbrook.
Ahi Tuna Poké
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 main dish 1x
Have a taste of Hawaii anytime with this easy poké recipe that is ready in 30 minutes. Heavy on healthy fish, colorful fruits and veggies, and bursting with umami flavor, poké is super nutritious and delicious.
- 12 – 16 oz raw ahi tuna or 14 oz block organic tofu (firm or extra firm), cut into ½ inch cubes (See “Notes: Tofu Prep” below)
- 4 cups mixed greens, cooked and chilled vegetables, and/or rice (or any combination thereof)
- 1/3 cup tamari or coconut aminos
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions, red or onion (optional)
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tsp-2 tbsp sriracha sauce
- ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
- Squeeze of lemon or lime juice
- Red pepper flakes
- Tobiko, fish roe
- Sesame Seeds
- Nori, julienned
- Mango chunks
- Anything else you want
- In a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, and toasted sesame oil. Add in tuna (or drained, pressed tofu) and gently stir to cover with marinade. Set the bowl of marinating tuna aside for 10-15 minutes and prepare toppings.
- To make spicy mayo, whisk together mayonnaise, sriracha sauce, toasted sesame oil, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To serve, put a healthy serving of greens/veggies/rice into your serving bowls, about one cup per person. Add the marinated tuna or tofu mixture and your prepared toppings to your poké bowl, then drizzle with the spicy mayo.
- Eat immediately.
Drain the tofu and place it on its side, cut in half down the long side. Place on a clean dish cloth or between paper towels and gently press to soak up some of the moisture. Dice the tofu into ½ inch cubes.
- Properly handled (flash-frozen or super fresh) tuna is necessary, as this dish is raw. You can also substitute salmon or cooked, chilled shrimp for the tuna.
- We love to use our homemade mayonnaise, but regular store-bought mayonnaise works well too.
- Poké is traditionally served over rice, but my family prefers greens or even chilled noodles.
- No tuna? No problem! This recipe has a tofu option, but you could also use any leftover cooked meat or shrimp as well.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 hours
- Category: Gluten-free
- Method: No-Cook
- Cuisine: Hawaiian
- Serving Size: 1 cup tuna, 1-2 cups base and topping ingredients
- Calories: 343
- Sugar: 15 g
- Sodium: 1500 mg
- Fat: 17 g
- Saturated Fat: 3 g
- Carbohydrates: 26 g
- Fiber: 5 g
- Protein: 23 g
- Cholesterol: 34 mg
Keywords: gluten-free, vegan option, paleo, whole30
Poké is ready in under 30 minutes! It’s super easy, fresh, and no cooking involved. It’s a perfect weeknight meal for yourself or a family. My kids love it, too. Yes, you read correctly – my kids love this raw fish dish.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or reviews of this recipe, so please post a comment!
“Seafood Watch – Official Site of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Program.” Seafood Watch – Official Site of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Program, seafoodwatch.org/.
“Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi).” Hawaii, www.hawaii-seafood.org/wild-hawaii-fish/yellowfin-tuna/.
“Yellowfin Tuna.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Dec. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowfin_tuna.