Roasted Garlic Ahi Poke

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Poke, pronounced “POH-kay, is a traditional Hawaiian dish made with the freshest of ingredients. Such a delightful meal, unless, of course, you don’t like raw fish. If so, you might want to skip this post. 😉 If not, read on.

Beginning in the mid to late1980s and developing over time sushi and sashimi have gained in popularity. Sushi bars are opening everywhere. Baby Lady & I love sushi and sashimi. We will even make it at home and someday will post a couple of our sushi recipes. Sushi an sashimi, however, are not the only way to eat raw fish. In the Hawaiian Islands they make a dish called poke that is absolutely out of this world. It is much like sushi except instead of being sliced, placed on rice with a little touch of wasabi and maybe some soyu and eaten in one bite, poke is more salad like but it’s definitely not a salad. As I pointed out in the post on Minute Poke, poke is designed as an appetizer which led some to refer to it as a sort of fish salad, which it is not. It is typically served in modest amounts which are designed to whet the appetite and raise interest in the rest of the meal. Most people, however, are unfamiliar with poke and have never tried it. Even those people who have eaten and like sushi and sashimi aren’t familiar with poke. This fact dawned on me as I was reading one of the blogs I follow Enjoy with Joy. If you have never read Joy’s blog, you need to as it is full of wonderful recipes. You see, Joy had just made tuna poke for the first time. At the end of her post, Joy commented:

“I can’t believe why I haven’t tried Poke before. I guess I’m used to ceviche-style using citrus and vinegar. With the poke dish you can taste the tuna and even enhances the flavor, and the seaweed and kombu just brings it together.”

As Baby Lady and I were reading Joy’s post we chuckled as we had just made the Asian Style Shrimp Ceviche and this poke dish (from Sam Choy’s Poke) for dinner the prior night. Joy’s ending comments to her post were so on point. Poke is a wonderful dish. So, Joy, if you want another poke recipe, give this one a try. 🙂

Now, I realize raw fish doesn’t appeal to many people and we don’t eat all types of fish raw. Certain fruits of the sea, however, are wonderful raw. For instance, tuna, scallops, shrimp, lobster, marlin, swordfish, sea urchin, oysters, and mackerel are wonderful raw. The fish, however, must be the freshest and highest quality possible and smell of the ocean. If not, eat something else. For those of you that are curious and those of you who love raw seafood, give this recipe a try. It’s a little different from more traditional poke with the addition of  roasted garlic but it is so wonderful. This is a fabulous appetizer or light lunch. Here is what we did.


  • 1 head garlic, roasted (method to roast garlic found here) and cloves separated
  • 1 lb Ahi tuna, cubed 1/2 inch cube
  • 1/2 medium onion, cubed 1/2 inch cube
  • 1 Serrano chile, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp Hawaiian salt
  • ground white pepper, to taste
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Poke, like ceviche, is a simple dish, basically a no-brainer.” After you have all your ingredients prepped, put the ahi in a large mixing bowl and add the salt, ground white pepper and soy sauce

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Then, add sesame seed oil

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the onion

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the Serrano chile

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Mix together

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Add the roasted garlic and very gently toss so as not to beak up the garlic

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Get a serving platter, line with banana leaves and pour poke onto platter

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Serve & enjoy!

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NOTES: Sam Choy also calls for 1/2 cup fresh ogo seaweed, rinsed and chopped. Living inland in DFW, we don’t get fresh seaweed and rehydrated just isn’t the same, so we omitted it. If, however, you are in a place where you can get fresh ogo, it really makes this dish top notch.

26 thoughts on “Roasted Garlic Ahi Poke”

  1. That looks lovely Richard. We are a long way from Hawaii geographically and in temperature. I took the bike up the mountains today, got rained on and only managed to get home before the snow. When the weather improves, I have to give this a go.

    1. Thanks, Conor. Glad you liked it. Sorry you’re still hovering around 0 C. Is that normal for Dublin this time of year? When Stefan tells me is still snowing in the Netherlands, I expect that but I’m not familiar with Ireland.
      Today, it was sunny and 80 F so I tilled the garden and put in new soil. I’ll have it finished tomorrow and planted during the week. Of course, 80 F is a little on the high side this time of year, even in Texas. I’m sure hoping this does not portend to a brutal dog days of summer. I hate it when the garden goes on life support. 😮

      1. We are in that time when it can be T-shirt one minute and greatcoat the next. I did get a half hour of warm sun up top of the mountains this afternoon. Well worth the effort.

  2. Nicely done Richard and love the presentation 🙂 When I was making the poke it was a few days you posted the Swordfish Mango ceviche. I asked if I can substitute tuna and while I was reading your blog you mentioned poke. I said to myself why not try it. I’ve heard about it but never tried it. Thank you for sharing a different version most definitely I will be making it 🙂

    1. Thanks, Joy. We’re glad you liked it. I had no idea we inspired you to try poke but we’re glad we did. You poke post was really nice. I have it bookmarked for a later date. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Alice. We’re glad you liked it. We love poke and haven’t been to Hawaii in 18 months. 😦 It’s always our annual trip and I so miss the weather, the people, the scenery and the food. Right now, poke is as close as we can get.

    1. Thanks, Stefan. You will like poke I am certain. They also make it with marlin, mahi-mahi, swordfish, octopus and crab, to name a few. You can even make it with lobster, which is pretty darn good.

    1. Hi, Barbara. I’m so glad to see you. I hope the move went well. You aren’t showing up in my Reader and when I visited your blog I didn’t see a follow button. Did I miss something? The blog looks nice and, as usual, the photos are stellar.
      Insofar as your question poke can be eaten any way you want. When we’re in Hawaii, we eat it for snacks, appetizers, lunch, dinner, whatever. It’s just downright good anytime.

  3. I’m not al all familiar with poke, Richard, so this post was a great lesson for me. As much as I’m enjoying the new-found selection of fresh fish available to me, I’m not so certain any of it would be fresh enough for something like poke. It’s definitely worth checking out, though, I’d really enjoy this dish. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    1. Hi, John. Thanks for the compliment. I’m sure there is someplace in Chitown that carries fresh ahi tuna. Our gourmet market in DFW has it flown in fresh from Hawaii 3 times a week. If you like fresh tuna raw, poke is the way to go. It’s nicely seasoned but showcases the tuna. We actually prefer poke to sushi and sashimi. Of course, if you ever go to Hawaii and eat it there, you will be spoiled and it will take months before you will eat tuna on the mainland again. The quality and freshness of the ahi in Hawaii is amazing.

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