Poke is a Hawaiian dish traditionally served as an appetizer, but it can also be a main dish when served with rice or corn titiyas.

Modern versions of poke can vary depending on the ingredients you have on hand. Poke is typically made with cubed ahi tuna marinated with soy sauce (some use sea salt), ground kukui nut (the meat in the inside, though, not the entire nut), sesame oil, ogo seaweed, and hot chili peppers. You can also use fresh salmon or octopus instead of ahi.

Living in Colorado, I don’t have access to a lot of the traditional ingredients like ogo seaweed and kukui nuts, so I created a different version of poke that my family — especially my 11 year old daughter — loves.

It’s a simple recipe that you can take to entirely new levels by adding the other optional ingredients I listed below.

Give my recipe a try.

I think you’ll like it.


  • 1 pound ahi tuna

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons kimchee base

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce

  • 6 stalks green onions, thinly sliced

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1 small cucumber, diced

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced

  • 1 small sweet onion (Maui onions are good), diced

  • 2 tablespoons furikake seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons ground macadamia nuts (if you can’t find or don’t have access to kukui nuts)

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • Hot chili peppers or Sambal Oelek chili sauce, to taste You can also substitute the tuna with salmon or octopus

Directions: 1. Cut the ahi into small cubes. I find it’s easier to slice the ahi when it’s partially frozen.

2. Add the sesame oil.

3. Add the kimchee base (you can use a chili sauce like Sambal Oelek if you can’t find kimchee base).

4. Add the soy sauce.

5. Add the green onions.

6. Stir to combine. Let the poke sit for at least 30 minutes (refrigerated) to allow the flavors to meld.

7. Serve with hot white rice or freshly made corn titiyas (tortillas).

The photo above shows the ahi tuna poke (on the bottom right of the plate) and ahi tuna sashimi (that’s another recipe, to be posted soon) on the bottom left.

The best stories from the Pacific, in your inbox

Sign up for our weekly newsletter of articles from Japan, Korea, Guam, and Okinawa with travel tips, restaurant reviews, recipes, community and event news, and more.

Sign Up Now