Not too long ago I had the wonderful experience of living in Hawaii for almost a year. It was a magical time filled with unbelievable experiences, beautiful scenery, and amazing food. There are so many Hawaiian dishes that I love, but my favorite is poke (pronounced poh-keh). Hands down.
My husband and I always used to grab poke bowls from the Whole Foods Market in Kailua before our weekend beach days. There is nothing quite like eating a delicious poke bowl with your toes in the sand and your eyes on those azure and aqua blue Hawaiian waters. Add a cold coconut water to the mix and it is pure bliss.
There are so many varieties of poke in Hawaii, but my favorite has always been the spicy mayonnaise-based version. While traditional spicy poke uses regular mayo, my recipe swaps that for paleo mayo, making this recipe completely paleo-friendly! This recipe for spicy ahi poke is identical in taste to the traditional version, but so much healthier because I’ve eliminated those unhealthy fats found in regular mayo.
I usually make my own paleo mayo using avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, or even extra virgin olive oil if that’s all I have in the kitchen. I’ve had the best luck using Michelle’s recipe over at Nom Nom Paleo and making it in a food processor. You can also purchase pre-made paleo mayo online or at some health food stores if you’re lucky enough to find it!
Another replacement in my recipe is that I’ve switched the spice component from sriracha to sambal oelek. Sriracha often includes questionable ingredients and, in my opinion, changes the flavor of a dish too much. Sambal oelek is a paste made from red chilis. It is just like Sriracha but without the extra vinegar, sugar (or corn syrup), and other ingredients. Sambal oelek can be found at most grocery stores in the Asian foods section in small glass jars.
I debated using the word “spicy” in this recipe title because, in fact, my recipe it is not all that spicy. I’d call it mild/medium. However, I decided to keep the term spicy in the title because it describes the nature of the recipe. Mayonnaise-based poke varieties in Hawaii are usually called spicy poke. And they’re usually pretty darn spicy. Personally, I find most of the authentic spicy ahi poke to be a little too spicy for my taste. Don’t get me wrong, I like spice, but I also like to taste my food. Especially when it’s an expensive cut of ahi tuna. Just sayin’. With that in mind, my recipe is not quite as spicy as the traditional stuff. If you like it hot, just add more sambal oelek to taste. And if you are very sensitive to spice, then try adding just 1/2 tsp of sambal oelek and adding more to taste after that.
It is very important to use all fresh ingredients in this recipe. The ahi tuna should be fresh, crimson in color, and nearly odorless. It is also important to purchase ahi that does not have a lot of white streaks running through it. These streaks are connective tissue and can make the ahi pieces very chewy, which is not what you want in your poke. Also, stick to fresh lemon juice in this recipe. It adds that extra level of brightness that bottled lemon juice just can’t.
While I love my poke over black rice, it can also be served over white rice. For those of you watching your carb intake or looking for an appetizer option, this poke is also delicious on cucumber slices!
- 1 lb sushi-grade ahi tuna
- ¼ medium yellow onion, very thinly sliced
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- 3 Tbsp paleo mayonnaise
- 1½ tsp sambal oelek
- 1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 cups cooked black rice
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 avocado, sliced
- Cook black rice according to directions on the package & set aside.
- Cut ahi into 1-inch cubes using a sharp knife & add to a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Add yellow and green onion slices.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sambal oelek, lemon juice, and sea salt.
- Pour the mayonnaise mixture over the ahi and onions.
- Using a flexible spatula, gently mix to evenly coat the ahi pieces.
- Cover and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Serve over black rice and top with toasted sesame seeds and avocado.
How did yours turn out? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section of this post 🙂
*Disclosure: Kit’s Coastal is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com