Authentic Hawaiian Poke

There’s a lot of Hawaiian poke recipes available on the internet; unfortunately many of them focus more on trendy than being authentic. Authentic Hawaiian poke isn’t some fancy colorful bowl with avocado and sprouts and other nonsense. The real version is much less attractive…and all the more delicious. If you’ve ever been to Hawaii you’ll know the best place to get poke, other than homemade, is at your local grocery ‘deli’ counter. Just get a plastic container filled with deliciously marinated fish.

Authentic Hawaiian Poke

The main ingredient you’ll want to splurge on is a big hunk of yellowfin tuna. Authentic poke is also made with octopus (known as he’e in Hawaiian but commonly called by the Japanese loanword ‘tako’) but for my recipe I just picked up tuna. Cut the tuna into small bite size pieces, making sure to trim away any tendon from the flesh. Unlike ceviche, Hawaiian poke is not cooked in acid. So you’ll want to use a high quality piece of fish.

Looking for a more heavy Hawaiian recipe? Try my super delicious Loco Moco. With beef, gravy, and a fried egg it’s hard to go wrong.

How To Make An Authentic Hawaiian Poke

yellowfin tuna on a cutting board

I used a 1.25 kg piece of fish, which is quite a large piece. Feel free to adjust the ratios to suit your taste. After cutting all of the pieces you’ll place them into a bowl and begin to assemble the marinade.

bit size tuna pieces in a bowl

The marinade is a hodgepodge of ingredients so take my ratios and feel free to adjust them if you want something stronger or weaker. To the bowl add four tablespoons of soy sauce, a tsp of sesame oil, a thinly sliced Maui onion (I used a sweet shallot since it’s pretty much impossible to find Maui onions in Europe), a few stalks of chopped green onion, two tablespoons of finely chopped seaweed, and some sesame seeds. If you’d like to make it a bit spicier you can add a small amount of wasabi to the mix.

Another traditional ingredient is chopped up kukui nut, but as that’s another hard to find ingredient it’s understandable to leave it out.

Authentic Hawaiian Poke in a bowl

As of now you’re pretty much done, however you won’t get the best flavor until you let it marinade for a while. An hour is enough, but for flavor that really packs a punch I recommend sealing the Hawaiian poke in a plastic bag or a container and placing it in the fridge for 12 hours, or overnight.

Authentic Hawaiian Poke in a plastic container...the true Hawaiian way.
Authentic Hawaiian Poke
traditional hawaiian tuna poke in a plastic container

Authentic Hawaiian Poke

This simple fish dish is a Hawaiian classic. Commonly served at family gatherings, Hawaiian poke is simple raw marinated fish, perfect for making use of leftover scraps.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Marinating 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Appetizer, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Hawaiian
Servings 4 people
Calories 343 kcal


  • Knife
  • Bowl


  • 1 kg Yellowfin Tuna cut into bite size pieces
  • 4 tbsp Soy Sauce more or less to suit your taste
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil more or less to suit your taste
  • 1 Maui Onion can sub a sweet shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp Green Onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp Sesame Seeds more or less to suit your taste


  • Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well.
  • Place in a bag or resealable container and seal. Place in the fridge to marinade for at least one hour, best overnight.
Keyword Hawaiian Poke, Raw Fish, Seafood, Tuna
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