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.
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
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
Finally, I cubed the ahi and set it aside.
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
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
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
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…
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
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
Links to Hawaiian Lu’au Food recipes
Chocolate Haupia Pie Recipe