Well, hello! First of all I just wanted to quickly mention that I hope you guys had a wonderful Easter celebration! I am currently in Iceland, or rather, will be in Iceland by the time you’re reading this (and hopefully not buried in layers and layers of snow ’cause Iceland be cold). Also, you may have noticed things look a bit different on here… I figured it was time for some “spring cleaning” on the blog and wanted to get things updated. I’m still getting used to how everything works with the theme so please bare with me for a bit. But now, onto the star of this post!
Poke has had a special place in my heart for a very, very long time. It’s a piece of home I always crave. If there’s one thing I absolutely can’t go without, it’s this dish. That being said, I’ve wound up eating a lot of raw fish in my life (though thankfully no mercury poisoning). I partially blame it on the fact that you can find great poke most anywhere in Hawaii. But for the life of me I cannot find that same type of poke anywhere else – and that’s not for a lack of trying either! I’ve tried poke all over this dang state, but it’s never quite right. Don’t even get me started on the whole poke shop craze because are people really eating their poke with zucchini noodles??! GUYS. Seriously??? I apologize if I’m coming off as a huge food snob right now, but that’s only because poke is so unbelievably easy to make. It’s such a simple recipe and absolutely delicious.
I don’t know how old I was, but I will always remember the first time I tried raw fish. I was spending another afternoon at my oldest friend Malia’s house and there was a giant platter of sashimi sitting on the dinner table. Her father called me over and gave me my first piece of sashimi. It was fresh caught ahi, colored a deep red, so tender and perfect with a little splash of shoyu and I feel in love with it instantly. It’s interesting, the moments that seem to stick with you after years and years of other memories that have crossed your mind, come and gone. The memory of my first time eating sashimi has stuck with me all these years. And whenever I have poke, I am always reminded of it.
Malia and I met in preschool and have been best friends, sisters, ever since. We grew up together, sleepovers, barbies, putting on plays for her parents and two dogs. I still laugh remembering the time we had to douse our feet in aloe after the waterpark because we were trying to be supah tough Hawaiians. We’d tell everyone we were sisters, though her blonde hair didn’t exactly match with my black hair. When Malia’s golden retriever had puppies, we took care of them everyday after school till they were old enough to be adopted. My parents and I welcomed our own pup from the litter into our home as our family’s first dog. We were always in the water, and I loved how Uncle Bryan would catapult us from one end of the pool to the other. We’d pretend we were dolphins and try to communicate with each other underwater. Once we made mud pies in the yard after it had rained, which I’m sure horrified my mother when she picked me up. I could go on and on and on and tell you about 1000 more memories like this. We’ve shared so many moments that will forever be a part of my heart and soul and I can’t imagine my childhood happier than the one she and her family helped shape.
However, like with anyone else, my childhood was also stippled with unhappy moments too. When we were 14, Malia’s father passed away. It was heartbreaking and painful and for a while the world felt like a dream. Last week marked the 10th anniversary of his passing. I wanted to share these poke bowls in honor of the man who first introduced them to me. After 10 years, it now feels bittersweet; missing someone yet at the same time feeling so happy for the memories you have together. A poke bowl always brings a smile to my face and the reminder of so many moments that I am thankful to have. This one’s for you, Uncle Bryan. I can only imagine his response would be, “broke da mouth”!!!
Shoyu Ahi Poke Bowls
Recipe makes 2 servings.
1/2 lb fresh ahi tuna (sashimi grade), cubed
1/4 cup yellow onion, julienned
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
pinch of salt
a few dashes of layu – optional but adds a little bit of spice!
2 cups steamed short-grain white rice
1. In a large bowl, combine the cubed ahi, yellow onion slices, and chopped green onion.
2. Add in the sesame oil, soy sauce, and salt to taste (and layu if using). Mix everything together with a spatula or spoon until the ahi and onions have been evenly coated with the sauce. If not using immediately, you may store the ahi in the fridge but it’s best eaten within the next few hours.
4. When reading to eat, split the rice between two serving bowls. Top with chilled poke and enjoy!