This Tuna Poke Recipe has chunks of tuna, avocado, cucumber, carrots, sesame seeds, green onion soy sauce, sesame oil and spicy mayo!
Tuna poke, a beloved dish hailing from the beautiful islands of Hawaii, is a culinary delight that has captivated the taste buds of people worldwide. This vibrant and refreshing dish embodies the essence of Hawaiian cuisine, showcasing the natural flavors of the ocean with every bite. With its origins deeply rooted in the cultural heritage of the islands, tuna poke has evolved into a versatile and customizable dish that offers a delightful combination of textures, flavors, and colors.
Tuna poke is commonly served as an appetizer or a main dish and is enjoyed for its fresh flavors and simplicity. It has gained popularity outside of Hawaii and can now be found in many parts of the world, often with creative variations that incorporate local ingredients and flavors.
What is Tuna Poke?
Tuna poke is a popular Hawaiian dish that originated in the islands' culinary culture. It typically consists of bite-sized cubes of raw tuna marinated in a flavorful sauce. The word "poke" (pronounced poh-kay) means "to slice" or "to cut" in Hawaiian, which refers to the way the fish is prepared.
The traditional ingredients for tuna poke include fresh tuna, soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions, sesame seeds, and often seaweed, such as wakame or nori. However, there are numerous variations of the dish, and the ingredients can vary depending on personal preferences and regional variations.
Why you will love this Tuna Poke Recipe
- Fresh and vibrant flavors: The use of sashimi-grade tuna ensures that you'll experience the true essence of fresh fish in every bite. Combined with the crispness of the cucumber, creaminess of the avocado, and the subtle sweetness of carrots, this recipe offers a delightful blend of textures and flavors.
- Customizable heat level: The addition of spicy mayo allows you to adjust the level of spiciness to your liking. You can add more or less sriracha depending on your preference, making it suitable for those who enjoy a little kick of heat or prefer a milder taste.
- Quick and easy to prepare: With minimal cooking involved, this recipe is perfect for those seeking a delicious and hassle-free meal. The marinade takes just a few minutes to prepare, and the assembly of the bowl is straightforward, making it ideal for a quick lunch or dinner option.
Tuna Poke Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Sashimi Grade Tuna
- Green onion
- Soy sauce
- Sesame oil
- Light mayonnaise
- Sushi rice
- Sesame seeds
- Pickled ginger
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Tuna Poke
Start by preparing the spicy mayo. In a small bowl, combine the light mayonnaise and sriracha. Adjust the amount of sriracha to your preference for spiciness. Set aside. Cut the sashimi-grade tuna into bite-sized cubes and place them in a mixing bowl. Add the sliced green onion, soy sauce, and sesame oil to the bowl with the tuna. Gently toss the ingredients together to coat the tuna evenly. Allow the tuna to marinate in the sauce for about 10-15 minutes to enhance the flavors.
While the tuna is marinating, prepare the remaining ingredients for the bowl. Cook the sushi rice according to the instructions on the box and let it cool slightly. Slice the cucumber and avocado, and julienne the carrots into thin strips. Assemble the bowl by placing a bed of sushi rice at the bottom. Arrange the marinated tuna on top of the rice.
Add the sliced cucumber, avocado, and carrots to the bowl, arranging them around the tuna. Drizzle the spicy mayo over the tuna poke and vegetables.
Optional: Garnish with additional sliced green onion and sesame seeds for added flavor and presentation. Serve immediately and enjoy the fresh and vibrant flavors of the tuna poke!
Hint: Choose high-quality fish: It's crucial to use fresh, sushi-grade tuna or any other fish you prefer for the poke. Look for fish that has a vibrant color, smells fresh, and has been properly handled and stored.
What to serve with Tuna Poke
- Rice: Tuna Poke is commonly served over a bed of sushi rice or steamed white rice. The rice helps balance out the flavors and provides a satisfying base for the dish. You can use regular or seasoned sushi rice, depending on your preference.
- Seaweed Salad: A side of seaweed salad complements Tuna Poke beautifully. The refreshing and slightly briny flavors of the seaweed salad contrast nicely with the tuna, adding depth to the overall meal.
- Edamame: Steamed edamame pods make a great side dish for Tuna Poke. They are not only delicious but also provide a nice textural contrast. Simply sprinkle some salt over the edamame pods and serve them alongside the poke.
- Pickled Vegetables: Pickled vegetables, such as pickled ginger, pickled radishes, or pickled cucumbers, can add a tangy and vibrant element to your meal. They provide a refreshing bite and help cleanse the palate between each bite of poke.
- Tuna: If you prefer not to use tuna or it's not available, you can substitute it with other fresh, sushi-grade fish such as salmon, yellowtail (hamachi), or even cooked shrimp. Make sure to adjust the marinating time and cooking instructions accordingly if using a different type of fish.
- Soy Sauce: If you're looking for a soy sauce alternative, you can try using tamari sauce, which is a gluten-free version of soy sauce. Coconut aminos can also be used as a soy sauce substitute for a lower-sodium option.
- Sesame Oil: If sesame oil isn't available, you can substitute it with another nutty oil like toasted sesame oil or even extra-virgin olive oil. Keep in mind that the flavor profile may vary slightly with the substitution.
- Green Onion: If you don't have green onions, you can use thinly sliced shallots or chives as a substitute. They will provide a similar mild onion flavor.
- Spicy Mayo: For the spicy mayo, you can adjust the heat level or substitute it with a different spicy sauce or condiment of your choice. Some alternatives include Sriracha mayo, chili garlic sauce, or even a homemade chili paste.
- Sushi Rice: If sushi rice is not available, you can substitute it with short-grain rice or jasmine rice. The texture and stickiness may vary slightly, but they can still work well as a base for the Tuna Poke.
Tuna Poke Recipe Variations
- Spicy Tuna Poke: Increase the heat by adding additional spicy ingredients such as minced jalapenos or red pepper flakes to the marinade. You can also mix in some wasabi or spicy chili sauce for an extra kick.
- Mango Tuna Poke: Add diced fresh mango to the traditional Tuna Poke recipe for a sweet and tangy flavor contrast. The juicy mango complements the savory tuna and adds a tropical twist to the dish.
- Sesame Ginger Tuna Poke: Incorporate grated fresh ginger and toasted sesame seeds to the marinade for a vibrant and aromatic twist. The ginger adds a zesty kick, while the sesame seeds bring nutty flavors and texture to the dish.
- Hawaiian Tuna Poke: Include traditional Hawaiian ingredients such as macadamia nuts and pineapple to the recipe. Toasted macadamia nuts add a delightful crunch, while fresh pineapple chunks lend a sweet and tangy taste.
- Korean-inspired Tuna Poke: Combine gochujang (Korean red chili paste) with soy sauce and sesame oil to create a spicy and savory marinade. Garnish with sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds for an authentic Korean twist.
Check out my Miso Tuna Recipe.
- Chef's knife: A sharp chef's knife is essential for slicing the fish and other ingredients precisely. It will help you cut the tuna into bite-sized cubes and prepare the vegetables.
- Cutting board: A sturdy cutting board provides a safe and stable surface for chopping and slicing the ingredients. Choose one that is large enough to accommodate the size of the fish and vegetables.
- Mixing bowl: A medium-sized mixing bowl is needed to combine the tuna with the marinade and toss the ingredients together.
- Measuring spoons: Measuring spoons are useful for accurately measuring the quantities of soy sauce, sesame oil, and other ingredients required for the marinade.
- Small bowl or jar: You'll need a small bowl or jar to mix the ingredients for the spicy mayo or any other sauce you plan to serve with the Tuna Poke.
- Serving bowls or plates: Choose attractive bowls or plates to present and serve the Tuna Poke. Individual bowls are commonly used for serving each portion.
- Optional: Rice cooker or pot: If you plan to serve the Tuna Poke with sushi rice, a rice cooker or pot will be helpful for cooking the rice according to the package instructions.
- Optional: Wooden spoon or spatula: A wooden spoon or spatula can be used to mix the marinade and gently toss the tuna with the other ingredients.
How to store Tuna Poke
- Refrigeration: Tuna Poke should be stored in the refrigerator as soon as possible after preparation. Place it in an airtight container or cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. This will help to keep the fish and other ingredients fresh and prevent any odors from transferring to the dish.
- Temperature: The Tuna Poke should be stored at a temperature below 40°F (4°C). Ensure that your refrigerator is set to an appropriate temperature to maintain food safety.
- Shelf Life: Tuna Poke is best consumed within 24 hours of preparation. The longer it sits, the texture and quality of the fish may degrade. Try to consume it on the same day for the best flavor and texture.
- Separation: If you plan to store the Tuna Poke for a longer period, it's recommended to separate the fish from the other ingredients. The acidity and moisture from the marinade can cause the vegetables or other components to become soggy over time.
- Components Separately: Alternatively, you can store the components of the Tuna Poke separately. Keep the marinated fish in one container and store the rice, vegetables, and any sauces or garnishes in separate containers. Assemble the poke just before serving.
- Safe Handling: When serving leftovers, be cautious of any potential cross-contamination. Avoid reusing utensils or plates that have come into contact with raw fish without proper washing.
Tuna Poke Recipe Top tips
- Choose high-quality fish: It's crucial to use fresh, sushi-grade tuna or any other fish you prefer for the poke. Look for fish that has a vibrant color, smells fresh, and has been properly handled and stored.
- Keep it chilled: Keep the tuna and other perishable ingredients chilled before and during preparation. This helps maintain their quality and ensures food safety.
- Sharpen your knife: Use a sharp knife to slice the tuna and other ingredients. A sharp knife will make clean cuts and help maintain the integrity of the fish without crushing or tearing it.
- Cut ingredients evenly: Aim for uniformity in the size of the ingredients, particularly the tuna cubes. This ensures that each bite of the poke has a consistent texture and allows the flavors to meld together.
- Marinate for optimal flavor: Allow the tuna to marinate in the sauce for at least 10-15 minutes, or longer if desired. This gives the fish time to absorb the flavors and results in a more flavorful and tender poke.
- Adjust seasoning to taste: Taste the marinade and adjust the seasoning according to your preference. If you prefer a saltier or spicier poke, add a bit more soy sauce or spice to the marinade.
- Prepare rice properly: If you're serving the poke with sushi rice, make sure to follow the instructions for cooking the rice correctly. It should be slightly sticky and seasoned lightly with rice vinegar to complement the flavors of the poke.
- Be creative with garnishes: Feel free to get creative with garnishes and toppings to add extra flavor and texture. Sprinkle sesame seeds, chopped cilantro, nori flakes, or sliced radishes for an appealing presentation and added taste.
- Serve fresh: Tuna Poke is best enjoyed immediately after preparation. However, if you need to make it ahead of time, store the components separately and assemble just before serving to maintain optimal freshness.
- Enjoy safely: Always prioritize food safety when handling raw fish. Ensure clean utensils, cutting boards, and surfaces, and practice safe food handling and storage procedures.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove