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What is shoyu poke?

From Ma`

Poke has a fond space reserved for itself in the hearts of most Hawaiians.

Stop. Let's try that pronunciation again because I heard you mentally pronounce poke as the English word "poke." The title and subject of this post is instead the ubiquitous island dish pronounced POH-kay. POH-keh. Say it one more time, POH-keh.

According to the standard Hawaiian dictionary, poke means "to slice, cut crosswise into pieces." That describes the preparation well enough. Poke is usually (but not always!) raw seafood sliced then dressed with sauces or spices. If you're having a hard time imagining what that might be like, imagine a kind of sushi salad. Most commonly, poke is made with 'ahi or aku (both varieties of tuna), octopus, squid, mussels or any of hundreds of other kinds of seafood. People have also used beef, tofu, lamb and just about everything else in dishes they've still called "poke."

These days poke is a standard fixture not only at luau celebrations, but also at every potluck, farmer's market and corner deli in town. The traditional preparation involves just fish, salt, seaweed and 'inamona, but in my unscientific sampling, I've found the most prevalent to be 'Ahi Shoyu Poke.

'Ahi Shoyu Poke

  • 1 lb. 'ahi
  • 1 T. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. 'inamona
  • 3-4 T. Aloha shoyu
  • 1 Hawaiian chili pepper, minced
  • 1 1/2 c. ogo seaweed
  • 1/4 c. chopped Maui onion
  • 1/2 t. fresh minced ginger
  • 1/4 c. chopped green onion
  • 1 1/2 T. sesame oil

For the full Ma` article go to