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Epic sunsets, swaying palms, rainbows, tropical beaches, sweet and juicy pineapple for everyone —these are some of the hallmarks of life in Hawaii. Even if you're stuck on the mainland, you can hasten the balmy days of summer by trying your hand at Hawaii's hottest of-the-moment dish: poké, a fresh, chopped, uncooked seafood salad with bold, bright flavors and spices. 

Poké is the Hawaiian word for “cut" or “chunk." Traditionally made with chunks of raw tuna or octopus seasoned with seaweed, sesame, green onions and soy sauce, poké is everywhere in Hawaii, from surf shacks to high-end hotels, and the variations are endless. 

The most important guideline to making your own poké is to start with the freshest, sushi-grade fish you can get your hands on. With a super sharp knife, cut the fish into two-inch cubes, and from there, let your imagination run wild. Stick with our Traditional Poké recipe, or try one of our creative versions below. Get cooking, put on some surf tunes, chill out and let the mahalo ("gratitude") roll in.

Variations

Start with the traditional recipe and make these substitutions and additions to mix things up: 

  • Try a spicy salmon poké with freshly ground lemon pepper and 1/2 teaspoon sriracha spice
  • Give your poké a Thai twist by adding a teaspoon of Thai red curry spice — top it with toasted coconut flakes. 
  • Make a Cajun spice poké by adding a teaspoon of Cajun spice and substituting crawfish tails for some of the tuna.

Elizabeth Winslow is a writer, food blogger, culinary instructor and entrepreneur in Austin, Texas. She is a regular contributor to Edible Austin and creates compelling content for brands both large and small. She has an M.A. in Literature from the University of Texas at San Antonio and teaches cooking classes with Kitchen Underground.