One of my fondest food memories is of eating poke salad (also spelled "poki") with my wife on a Maui beach during my honeymoon, accompanied by Salon Champagne. It's a long story how that happened. We'd intended to drink the Salon in a fancy restaurant, but those plans went awry and we wound up on the beach sipping our fancy Champagne from plastic cups and eating store-bought poke salad. It was perfect!
Poke salad -- which is made using raw tuna -- is as commonplace in Hawaiian grocery stores as potato salad is here. It's delicious and very easy to make. There's no cooking involved; it's essentially nothing more than raw tuna marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, chili sauce and a few other ingredients. It makes for a terrific warm-weather lunch or dinner item.
Here is a poke salad recipe that I like a lot. You can tweak it and add ingredients, as you see fit. In Hawaii, everybody seems to have their own unique poke salad secret recipe.
3/4 lb. sushi grade ahi tuna (don't even think about trying this without top-notch sushi-grade fish)
2-3 green onions, minced
1 small or 1/2 large red onion, minced
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Tbs. mirin
1 Tbs. rice wine
1 Tbs. light soy sauce
1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
red chili sauce, to taste (I like to use Sambal Oelek or Sriracha)
1 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds (black or white)
Begin by combining all of the ingredients except the tuna in a mixing bowl.
Stir the mixture to blend thoroughly.
Using a very sharp knife, cut the ahi tuna into small cubes, about 1/2 inch in size.
Place the tuna in the bowl with the poke dressing.
Toss gently to coat the tuna with the dressing.
Refrigerate the poke salad for a half-hour or so before serving to allow the flavors to intermingle.
Serve chilled or at room temperature.
The poke salad here is pictured with sesame noodles on the side.