Poke (Hawaiian dish)
|Place of origin||Ancient Hawaii|
|Region or state||Hawaii|
|Main ingredients||skipjack tuna, sea salt, soy sauce, inamona, sesame oil, limu seaweed, chili pepper|
Poke // (Hawaiian for "to slice" or "cut crosswise into pieces"; sometimes anglicised as 'poké' to aid pronunciation) is diced raw fish served either as an appetizer or a main course and is one of the popular dishes in Hawaii. Traditional forms are aku (skipjack tuna) and heʻe (octopus). Heʻe poke is sometimes called tako poke in places where the Hawaiian language is not spoken. Poke differs from other raw fish dishes in that it does not use citrus fruits as a curing agent.
Poke began with fishermen seasoning the cut-offs from their catch to serve as a snack. According to the food historian Rachel Laudan, the present form of poke became popular around the 1970s. It used skinned, deboned, and filleted raw fish served with Hawaiian salt, seaweed, and roasted, ground candlenut meat. This form of poke is still common in the Hawaiian islands.
Beginning around 2012, poke became increasingly popular in North America. From 2014 to mid-2016, "the number of Hawaiian restaurants on Foursquare, which includes those that serve poke," doubled, going from 342 to 700. These restaurants serve both traditional and modern versions of the dish. The modern version is sometimes called poké bowl, and may have the ingredients arranged in a grouped way rather than mixed. Variations may include ponzu sauce, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, sriracha sauce, and mayonnaise as sauces, and avocado, mushrooms, crispy onions, pickled jalapeño, cilantro, pineapple, cucumber, edamame, green onions, and a variety of other fusion cuisine vegetables among the chopped ingredients. Unlike traditional Hawaiian poke, the mainland style is typically not pre-marinated, but is instead prepared with sauces on demand. Contemporary poke restaurants are mostly—but not exclusively—fast casual style restaurants where the dish is fully customizable from the base to the marinade on the fish. A variety of fish may be available, with ahi tuna the most popular, and yellowtail, salmon, octopus, crab, and imitation crab as common additional choices. An option to add a base of cooked rice is not uncommon.
The traditional Hawaiian poke consists of fish that has been gutted, skinned, and deboned. It is served with traditional condiments such as Hawaiian sea salt, candlenut, seaweed, and limu. Traditional poke seasonings have been heavily influenced by Japanese and other Asian cuisines. These include soy sauce, green onions, and sesame oil. Others include furikake (mix of dried fish, sesame seeds, and dried seaweed), chopped dried or fresh chili pepper, limu (seaweed), sea salt, inamona (roasted, crushed and salted candlenut), fish eggs, wasabi, and Maui onions. Other variations of poke may include cured heʻe (octopus), other types of raw tuna, raw salmon and various kinds of shellfish.
Traditional Hawaiian poke may consist of cubed raw fish, maui onions, inamona, limu, soy sauce, green onions, or sesame oil.
A very similar dish is the kinilaw of the Philippines. Kinilaw is usually raw diced fish marinated in citrus juice, sour fruits, or vinegar with extracts from mangrove bark or fruits (and sometimes coconut milk). This process can also be applied to other seafood and lightly blanched or grilled meat (the latter being generally differentiated as kilawin). The dish was introduced to Guam during the Spanish colonial period, resulting in the derivative Chamorro dish of kelaguen.
The Ilocano dish poqui poqui of the Philippines also likely derived its name from poke, after the influx of Ilocano sugarcane workers to Hawaii during the American colonization of the Philippines. However, they are very different dishes, with poqui poqui being a scrambled egg dish with grilled eggplants and tomatoes.
Raw fish dishes similar to poke that are often served in Europe are fish carpaccio and fish tartare. Also similar to poke are Korean hoe-deopbap, marinated raw tuna served over rice, and Peruvian ceviche. Japanese sashimi also consists of raw seafood; other similar Japanese dishes are zuke don, a donburi dish topped with cured fish (usually tuna or salmon) along with avocado topped with furikake, and kaisendon, a more elaborate version served with additional non-fish toppings.
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