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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Ahi Limu Poke

Ahi Limu Poke

This Ahi Limu Poke dish was part of our Ultimate Backyard Lu’au that we threw a few weeks back. Ahi or yellowfin tuna, is one of Hawai’i’s favorite fishes to eat. We like them in sashimi (especially around New Years), smoked, or in poke (“POH-kay”). Limu is the Hawaiian word for algae or seaweed. Poke simply means “cut into small pieces” in Hawaiian. Ahi Limu Poke, then, calls for ahi to be cut into small pieces, then mixed with seaweed and other seasonings.

For Starters

First off, we start with sashimi-grade ahi. You can find them in higher-end markets, but we like to go to our favorite fishmonger, Pat from Mission Fresh Fish. You can find him at many Bay Area farmer’s markets. We bought our frozen ahi steaks from him at the San Carlos Farmer’s Market.

Frozen Ahi Steaks from Mission Fresh Fish

Frozen Ahi Steaks from Mission Fresh Fish

We brought the fish home and kept them frozen until the day of the lu’au. I took them out of the fridge while the steaks were still stiff. I cut the steaks into 3/4 inch-thick slabs, then cut the slabs into 3/4 inch wide strips.

Cutting Ahi Into Strips for Poke

Cutting Ahi Into Strips for Poke

Finally, I cubed the ahi and set it aside.

Cubed Ahi for Poke

Looking for Limu

I wanted to use a specific type of limu, called ogo, for this poke. In Hawai’i, it’s easy to find it fresh in the supermarkets. Not so easy to find it here in the Bay Area. I tried calling around to various supermarkets in the South Bay (Santo, Imahara) that bring in Hawaiian products but they didn’t have fresh ogo in stock that day.

Fortunately, I was able to find another store in Cupertino that stocks Hawaiian products: Marukai on Stevens Creek Blvd. Lucky thing, this store is open to the general public, as most of their other stores are members only. They sell a “poke mix” by Noh Foods that comes with dried ogo, Hawaiian salt, and chili pepper flakes. I bought four packages.

Noh Brand Poke Mix with Dried Ogo

Noh Brand Poke Mix with Dried Ogo

The recipe for Ahi Limu Poke is really easy. You just have to reconstitute the dried ogo in water for a few minutes, chop it up into bite-size bits, and mix it in with the fish, some sesame oil, and the salt and chili pepper.

Ogo and Seasonings for Ahi Poke

Ogo and Seasonings for Ahi Poke

I used all the ogo, but ended up using only about 3 packets’ worth of salt, which was just right. Hawaiian salt (called alae) is a coarse sea salt that is very salty. Too much could ruin a dish.

After mixing, I let it chill in the fridge for the flavors to combine.

Ahi Limu Poke

Ahi Limu Poke

It’s not everyday that one gets to enjoy fresh, sashimi-grade tuna. The combination of salt, sesame oil, seaweed, and sashimi is a winner. The crunchy ogo plays off against the soft fish, and the slight chili heat adds spark to the cool dish. Everyone enjoed our ahi limu poke, going back for seconds, thirds, and more.

For me, this dish takes me back to my home. I can imagine driving along Kamehameha Highway, past Kualoa Ranch, with Ka’a’awa Valley on the left and the azure Pacific on the right. The ocean breeze carries an intoxicatingly fresh scent of the sea. I can’t stop breathing it in… Ahhhh…

Leftovers

We actually did have some leftovers after the party was done. The next day, we decided to make some fried poke for dinner. Simply heat a non-stick pan on medium-high, add a little sesame oil in the pan, and toss the ahi poke in. Quickly brown the fish on all sides, cooking it just a couple of minutes.

Making Fried Ahi Poke

Making Fried Ahi Poke

We took some salad greens, including some mizuna, from the CSA share we got from our friend J (thanks again, J!). Put the fried poke on top and then drizzle with some Shiitake & Sesame dressing from Annie’s Naturals. Excellent meal!

Fried Poke Salad

Fried Poke Salad

Aloha, Nate


This post was entered into the June 22 edition of Weekend Herb Blogging, managed by Haalo and hosted by Erbe in Cucina - Cooking with Herbs



Links to Hawaiian Lu’au Food recipes

"Huli Chicken" recipe

Kalua Pig with Cabbage Recipe

Lomi Lomi Salmon Recipe

Huli Chicken Recipe

Chocolate Haupia Pie Recipe

10 Comments:

K and S said...

that NOH packet is my secret weapon for poke :) I also make tako poke with it.

Sippity Sup said...

Cool Poke. I am starting to like this stuff. GREG

Gina said...

All your recipes sound great, but that ahi limu poke looks especially ono. . .my mouth is watering and my heart is dreaming of Hawaii. . .

Food Gal said...

Poke and shave ice are two of my favorite Hawaiian treats. Thanks for the tip on that store on Stevens Creek that carries Hawaiian products, too. Had not known about it before.

Graziana said...

Thank you for your entry! Raw Ahi has an incredible colour, I guess it's delicious too!

Nate said...

Dobashi's in Japantown used to bring in Hawaiian stuff. Don't know if Nijiya is continuing the practice.

Anh said...

Wow what a dish it is. I love tuna and your step-step picture is really helpful.

Skip said...

Takahashi's on 3rd Avenue & Claremont in San Mateo [right off 101] has inamona, limu, Laulaus' & local favorites - Also, Haleiwa Poi flown in every Thurs. - Great family that owns the store.

we are never full said...

ok, this looks so darn good. and healthy and FRESH. perfect for a warm summer day (esp. if i'm feeling fat from the night before!!).

Nate-n-Annie said...

@all - thanks for your comments!

@K and S - oooh, tako poke! Haven't had octopus in a long time.

@Gina - don't dream, just go!

@Food Gal - the Saratoga Farmer's Market has a shave ice stand, but it's nowhere as good as Waiola Shave Ice in Honolulu.

@Graziana - Glad to be part of the roundup!

@Anh - thank you!

@Skip - yeah, the folks at Imahara's also mentioned Takahashi's but that was a little too far to drive.

@We Are Never Full - hee hee. Fish is good for you!