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Ahi shoyu poké bowl recipe

Ahi shoyu poké bowl recipe

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  • Seafood starters
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Make Hawaiian poke at home with this quick and easy recipe featuring fresh ahi tuna, shoyu soy sauce, spring onion and sesame oil.

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 450g fresh ahi tuna steaks, cut into small cubes
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons chopped sweet onion
  • 4 tablespoons chopped spring onion
  • 1 green or red chilli, seeded and diced
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped toasted macadamia nuts (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh root ginger
  • sea salt to taste

MethodPrep:20min ›Ready in:20min

  1. Combine ahi cubes, soy sauce, sweet onion, green onion, chilli, sesame oil, sesame seeds, macadamia nuts, ginger and sea salt in a large bowl.

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For marinade

  • ¼ cup soy sauce high quality
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp seaweed crushed
  • 1 tsp ginger paste or freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

For serving

  • ¾ - 1 lb sushi grade ahi tuna
  • ½ small English cucumber halved lengthwise and cut into half moons about ¼" thick
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced, plus more for serving
  • Pickling ginger
  • Sesame seeds
  • Crunchy tempura bits
  • Seaweed cut into strips
  • Tobiko flying fish roe
  • ½ large Haas avocado cut into ½" pieces
  • Sushi rice served warm
  • Spicy mayo


Make the marinade


  • Once marinated, ahi tuna should be used within 24 hours to retain freshness.
  • Check out this sticky rice recipe to serve with your ahi tuna poke bowl. Instructions included for rice cooker, Instant Pot, and stove top.
  • We also recommend this simple homemade spicy krab salad, which is delicious on its own or as a topping for poke bowls!
  • Make this 2 ingredient homemade spicy mayo for a little more heat!


Did you make this recipe? Tag @wellseasonedstudio and hashtag it #wellseasonedstudio!

Lover of all things food

Hi! I'm Ari, photographer and recipe developer behind Well Seasoned. As a former NYC chef, I'm spilling all my tips and tricks from the restaurant industry with you! To learn more about me, click here.

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Just going to leave this here: ahi tuna poke is the best recipe I’ve developed all year (and we’re more than halfway through 2020!).

Is that high enough praise? I’m not sure I can convey how truly delicious this recipe is.

It’s unctuous, luscious, and full of umami notes that deeply satisfy. It’s all the perks of sushi, without the fuss of rolling rice and nori. A touch spicy, a bit of tang, and just a touch of sweetness. We are in love and know that after one bite you’ll be hooked as well!

What is Poke?

First of all, it is written as poke, not poké, and pronounced “poh-kay”, not “poh-ki”. The simplest traditional poke consists of chunks of raw seafood, most commonly ahi tuna, marinated in Hawaiian salt or shoyu (Japanese soy sauce), chopped seaweed (limu) and kukui nut. Green onion, sesame oil, and chili pepper are popular additions for the shoyu variation.

Native Hawaiians would typically slice up smaller reef fish and serve them raw. But with the arrival of Japanese workers in the late 1800s, the predominant poke fish shifted to ahi tuna. Poke bowls with rice — a cultural mash-up of Hawaiian flavors and Japanese donburi — became popular in restaurants in Hawaii only in the past three decades

In recent years, fast-casual poke shops started popping up all over the States. A ubiquitous food in Hawaii has become a commodification and the latest phenomenon in the mainland. During our grocery tour, one of the guests asked Andy where his favorite place to get poke was and he said that it was nowhere around here. What many of the poke shops that have recently popped up serve is essentially deconstructed maki rolls where you select a raw fish, some vegetables, toppings and a sauce of your choice. Typical Hawaiian poke is made of just a few ingredients and it’s so easy to make it yourself.

Spicy ahi poke, inspired by foodland

Spicy ahi poke is perhaps my greatest love in the food world. First introduced to me when I visited Bowl #2’s family in Hawaii, poke is pretty much just fresh chunks of tuna marinated in soy sauce and other ingredients. Some describe it as a Hawaiian ceviche, which I find apt but not all-encompassing of its utter perfection (I just describe it as bliss). The standard version is one marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, and a few other ingredients, whereas our personal favorite is a slightly unhealthier, spicy mayo-based kind that we usually get from Foodland, a Hawaii supermarket chain. This particular kind was part 2 of the Hawaiian birthday feast (part 1 is here), and here is the stunningly simple recipe for how to make it!

In terms of learning how to make this, it was probably the inverse of musubi for me — rather than something I tried over and over figuring it was easy, it was something I never tried to make because I always thought it would be too hard. Instead, I found spicy ahi poke to be surprisingly simple to do, which was exciting because it’s something that is fairly rare out here (and the restaurants that do offer some kind of “Hawaiian-Style Poke” usually serve something that doesn’t taste that similar to the real thing). That was particularly devastating, given that for awhile when we were in Hawaii I demanded it for lunch every single day. I probably won’t make it every day here, considering the steep price for ahi, but it’s a huge relief to know that we can make it if we really want to, and it’s not just a distant dream in that paradise (Food)land that we can only go back to every once in a blue moon.

Originally, the biggest obstacle in my mind was finding fresh fish that (a) tasted good and (b) didn’t kill us. Or at least didn’t give us toilet problems (sorry, tmi?). Maybe I am exaggerating this feat, but it seemed dubious. Raw fish is always a mystery to me. Anyway, it turns out that if you can find a good quality, flash frozen tuna labeled “sashimi grade,” it will do just fine, and the fish market near us has great quality frozen ahi. (Here’s an interesting NYT article on how freezing the fish may actually be better, since it kills parasites, and is actually extremely commonly done even among the best sushi restaurants in NYC!)

Once you find that, all you need is some everyday ingredients to marinate the poke in. Like I mentioned, it’s most commonly sesame oil, soy sauce, and chopped green onion, along with some other variations (often nori, for instance). But our spicy mayo-based marinade, based on the version from Foodland, adds Sriracha and mayonnaise to the mix. If you prefer the shoyu version, it is more or less just the first three steps of the recipe for spicy ahi poke, but I’ve also reprinted it on its own at the end.

Standard shoyu poke (sesame oil, soy sauce, and green onion). Print

3. Keep it cool

Keep the raw fish in the fridge until you&rsquore ready to use it. &ldquoDon&rsquot let the fish sit out while you&rsquore prepping everything else. Prep the other ingredients first,&rdquo says Geringer-Dunn. Plus, raw fish is easier to cut when it&rsquos cold.

Pro tip: You want to make one clean cut in the fish, so the longer the blade, the better. In other words, don&rsquot use a paring knife or you&rsquoll destroy the texture of the fish. (Geringer-Dunn&rsquos personal favorite is a Miyabi knife.)

Classic Poké Bowl recipe

Here is the granddaddy of all the poké recipes from our brand new and totally beautiful title Island Poké. It is our standard ‘ahi poké recipe and what we serve day in, day out at Island Poké. The secret to its success is the sashimi-grade ‘ahi that we allow to stand on its own, without being overwhelmed with too many other flavours. If you cannot source sashimi-grade ‘ahi, ask your fishmonger to advise you on whether their freshest tuna can be eaten raw.


500 g/1 lb. 2 oz. sashimi-grade ‘ahi or yellowfin tuna

3 spring onions/scallions, finely sliced

1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, grated


2 tablespoons Pickled Ginger

2 red chillies/chiles, sliced

2 spring onions/scallions, sliced

1 avocado, peeled, stoned and sliced

2 tablespoons tobiko (fish roe)

2 tablespoons wakame seaweed

1 tablespoon macadamia nuts

2 tablespoons Crispy Shallots

Mixed sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Edible flowers, to garnish

Make up a batch of sushi rice.

Cube or dice ‘ahi or tuna into smallish pieces. Place in a bowl with the shoyu, sesame oil, spring onions/scallions and ginger and gently mix together. Leave for at least 15 minutes for the flavours to combine.

Place the rice in a poke serving bowl, add the poke and garnish with any of the toppings. Add one of the following sauces: sriracha mayo (see below), wasabi crema (see below), or straight sriracha sauce.


Mix together 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons thick yogurt and the freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime.


Stir together 125 g/ ½ cup sour cream, 3 tablespoons crème fraiche, 2 teaspoons wasabi paste, 1 teaspoon light soy sauce and the freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon. Leave for at least an hour to allow the flavours to develop.


Heat up a cast iron pan and char 2 jalapenos and 2 red chillies/ chiles until just blistered on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, toast 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, then run a knife across them before crushing in a mortar. De-stem and finely dice the charred chillies/chiles. Make up a Standard ‘Ahi Tuna Poke and combine with above ingredients.

This recipe is from Island Poke by James Porter, photography by Mowie Kay © Ryland Peters & Small

Tuna Poke (Hawaiian Raw-Tuna Salad) Recipe

Why It Works

  • Sweet onions provide flavor without pungency or heat.
  • Fresh lean tuna is complemented by simple seasonings and aromatics.
  • Tossing the salad and letting it rest for just a few minutes before serving maximizes flavor development while retaining texture.

Poke (pronounced poh-keh), a raw-fish salad, is like the hamburger of Hawaii, ubiquitous at family gatherings, parties, tailgates, and supermarket delis across the islands. I've seen the Hawaiian word poke translated variously as "to chop" or "to cut crosswise," in reference to the way in which the fish is cut, so perhaps it's more accurate to say that poke is like the chopped salad of Hawaii. My version features both traditional and modern twists. It's extremely simple to make (think of it like tossing a salad) and uses very few ingredients.

How To Make A Poke Bowl Like A True Hawaii Local

These treasures have long been a staple in the Hawaiian islands for centuries, yet only now are they sweeping the nation as a must-have food trend.

Poke is cooked and raw, hot and cold -- all at the same time. It resembles a beautifully crafted Chipotle burrito bowl, but with a sushi twist it's both a comfort food and a healthy meal.

And if we haven't convinced you to try one yet, this might:

So, just how does one craft their very own tasty bowl of raw, chewy, sometimes crunchy goodness? To find that out, we went to the land from which it came (Hawaii) and asked the experts: Al Cobb-Adams, owner of Da Poke Shack, currently number one on Yelp's Top 100, and chef Andres Bravo, a former sushi chef-turned-private chef for Hale Aina, who was trained at the famed 2-Michelin star Mugaritz and has privately cooked for a lineup of A-list celebs, including Rihanna, Jessica Simpson and Alanis Morissette.

Turns out, it's both surprisingly easy and challenging -- and we wouldn't expect anything less. First, we begin with the basics:

1. The Rice
As the first layer of the bowl, rice counterbalances the fishy taste of the raw poke (which means "to cut into pieces" in Hawaiian). Chef Bravo recommends using white rice, seasoned with rice vinegar and chopped kombu or seaweed.

"Coming from a sushi background, I've learned that rice is very important when served with raw fish," Bravo said. "You want to have a good quality rice." For the highest quality bowl, he suggests using short grain Japanese sushi rice, but regular white rice is also sufficient and can be swapped with brown rice if desired.

2. The Fish
Both chef Bravo and Cobb-Adams agree: Fresh fish is the most important ingredient in a poke bowl. The fresher, the better. Ahi tuna, or yellowfin tuna, is the most common choice used in the islands, but Cobb-Adams suggests bluefin tuna, commonly found on the East Coast, as the best option.

When choosing a fish, consider these three things: smell ("Fresh fish should have a very light fish smell -- almost no smell," he says), color (fresh tuna should be a bright crimson red) and texture (firm to the touch).

Cobb-Adams has also tried using marlin and salmon, and says other fish varieties can be tested. "The fattier the fish, the better it will taste," he says. He also strongly advises against using anything that is farm-raised or frozen. "Fish is one of the last free range meats you can buy," he says, adding that farmed fish are fed man-made foods -- "unnatural stuff" -- which turns the fish meat into "something else."

3. The Cut
Bravo first cuts his fish into filets, "like the ones you see in the window at the sushi bar," he says. From there, he cuts them into cubes. Cobb-Adams says its best to cut "with the grain, not against it," to avoid perforated edges. After it's cut into cubes, salt the fish to taste using Hawaiian or sea salt.

The size of the cube depends on personal taste. "A lot of local people and Hawaiians love the taste of fish," Cobb-Adams says, "so having a big piece to chew on is no problem." People who don't like the fishy taste can opt for smaller cubes to better taste the bowl's dressings.

4. The Poke Sauce And Garnishes
This is where Bravo and Cobb-Adams disagree. Bravo believes that poke should remain simple, like its original Hawaiian form. "It is what it is," he says. "Use super fresh shoyu (soy sauce) and a few other ingredients, preferably locally-sourced, but you don't want to stray too far from there."

Cobb-Adams is more daring in his approach. "You can almost do anything with poke," he says. "You can walk down the aisles of your supermarket and if you think it tastes good, throw it into your poke and toss it. Honestly, whatever tastes good to you."

The Basics: sliced brown onion, chopped green onion, slices of avocado, lightly drizzled soy sauce, roe, cherry tomatoes and sesame seeds.

For Spicy Poke: blend chili peppers with Hawaiian sea salt and a light drizzle of olive oil until it turns into a paste mix in with mayonnaise and unagi (eel) sauce to taste. (Recipe by Al Cobb-Adams, Da Poke Shack)

5. The Look
"Everything I do is by taste and sight," Cobb-Adams says. "You can have a prime cut of ahi, but if you don't make it look presentable, people will look at it and say, 'That's gross! I won't eat it.' "

Bravo would agree. He says that contrast and color is an important part of a beautifully crafted poke bowl. For his clients, he sometimes adds fried wontons to the bowl to give it a nice crisp texture sometimes he adds shredded carrot to brighten up the dish.

He also warns against serving the poke flat. "You want to give your dish some height," he says -- thus, a bowl is used. "If you take a spoonful of poke and simply dump it in the bowl," he adds, "it won't look appetizing." To remedy this, form a mound of poke over the rice so that it has a point at the top, like a pyramid.

6. Pulling It All Together
1. Put the freshly cut cubes of ahi into a large bowl, sprinkle sea salt to taste.
2. Add and toss soy sauce or desired sauce to taste, just enough to coat the cubes.
3. Put a scoop of rice in a single serve bowl.
4. Pour the seasoned poke over the rice, creating a mound.
5. Add final touches and garnishing.
6. Sprinkle the bowl with furikake seasoning.

Voilà! Enjoy immediately, while rice is hot and poke is cold.

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Raw Poke Hawaiian Salad

I have to confess, we made it a goal to test every Poke Recipe we could find during our time in Hawaii, eating it nearly every day.

We ate Ahi poke, octopus poke, crab poke, oyster poke, mussel poke and several other Hawaiian fish varieties.

Our favorite, by far, was the Ahi Poke. Rich, tender, sashimi grade Ahi tuna dressed with simple ingredients to allow the essence of the raw fish to shine.

Poke is versatile and recipes are made to taste. The main components in every style are: extremely fresh seafood, Maui onion, and soy sauce. All other ingredients are negotiable.

Hawaiian Poke makes an incredible first course at a holiday dinner party and can be served as shots at a cocktail party.

It is likely to be the quickest recipe you make and have the biggest impact on your party guests.