Sam Choy’s Award Winning Poke Recipe (with notes by me)
2 lbs. fresh raw ahi tuna, cubed into 1/2 to 3/4 inch squares
3 oz. chopped green onion
3 oz. diced onion (many Hawaiian places use Maui onions which are hard to find on the Mainland, you can use Vidalia, it should be on the sweeter side for an onion)
2 oz. chopped ogo (fresh seaweed - hard to find outside Hawaii)
1 tsp. red chili flakes
2 tbs. soy sauce
2 tbs. sesame oil
Hawaiian red salt to taste
Kukui nut (inamona) - also hard to find outside Hawaii
Combine all ingredients and chill. Sprinkle more chopped green onion tops and some sesame seeds on at this point if you want it to look more festive. You can also play around by adding other stuff like wasabi for wasabi poke or adding in furikake or avocado, etc. Be careful with the soy, too, as a little goes a long way in this dish.
PRO-TIP: The hardest ingredients to source will be the inamona (crushed kukui nut), ogo limu (fresh Hawaiian seaweed), and Hawaiian red salt. You can make poke without these three ingredients, or by subbing in crushed macadamia nut for the inamona. But something always seems missing to me when I cut them out of the recipe. There’s something about the nuttiness of the inamona that makes the poke taste even richer.
Using all these “secret” ingredients is what really takes this poke recipe to another level.
I make my own inamona by roasting and crushing raw kukui nuts. They may be labeled “candle nuts” or “kemiri nuts” at the store and are a staple of Indonesian & Malaysian food. Kalustyan’s in NYC carries them.
You can get the ogo online, freeze dried from NOH Foods, and it reconstitutes fairly well. You can get this on Amazon or on the NOH Foods web site. NOH also sells poke “mix” packets with the freeze dried ogo, salt, chili pepper flakes, and sesame seeds, but it’s $3.75 for a small 0.4 oz packet. Fresh ogo seaweed is flown in to Japanese stores on the West coast (like Marukai) but I don’t know if they do that anywhere else.
Any specialty spice store will have the Hawaiian red salt.