I know I reeled you in with that title. Haven’t you always longed to know how you might create a dish with tastes of the Pacific in the comfort of your state-side home? No? Well, it’s delicious and easy, so be adventurous and check it out.
Poke (poh-kay) is a traditional Hawaiian dish usually made with raw tuna, Hawaiian sea salt, seaweed, chopped vegetables, kukui nuts, shoyu, and spices, and served with rice or noodles (or both — live on the edge!). There are a variety of pokes created and served in Hawaii; it is a versatile, adaptable dish that can take on a variety of favorite flavors.
All of these ingredients sound divine to me. . . except the raw fish. (I mean, I can see eating raw fish back in the day, but now that we have discovered fire it just seems lazy.) Before you accuse me of being a total dud and never eating exotic foods, I will have you know that I tried tuna tartar many years ago, and I can still feel that spongy, gelatinous texture on my tongue. Not so much.
Not a vegan to be held back by lacking a main ingredient, however, I did some poking around and found several recipes for vegan and vegetarian Hawaiian poke. I have made variations of these recipes three times during our stay in Kona, and I do believe my hybrid version is a souvenir I will replicate and enjoy for many years to come. Try creating this vegan poke in your own kitchen! It comes together best if, while you cook, you’re listening to the ukelele, wearing a grass skirt, and sipping a pina colada (and possibly being fanned with palm fronds, but if you can manage that you should pass this recipe on to your personal chef).
Vegan Poke with Noodes and Rice
- 1 package extra firm tofu, cubed
- 1 package udon noodles
- 2 cups cooked coconut rice (1 cup rice, 1 cup water, 1 cup coconut milk, pinch salt)
- 1 bunch kale, chopped
- 1 bunch broccolini, cut into sections
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1 cup edamame (optional)
- 2 T macadamia nuts, chopped
- 1/2 – 1 cup fresh seaweed (optional; I couldn’t always find it, even here!)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
- 1/2 cup minced sweet onion
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 Tbsp tamari
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
- Salt to taste
1) Make sure you get the extra firm tofu (like organic wild wood), and not the silken kind or you will be sending me hate mail! Pat down the tofu block with paper towels, cut into cubes.
2) To make the poke, mix 1 1/2 T of the tamari, 1-2 T lime/lemon juice (about 1/2 a medium lemon), carrot, sesame oil, green onions, nuts, seaweed (if you are using it, yahoo for you!) and garlic. Pour over adorable tofu cubes and marinate in the fridge 30 minutes or longer (even all night you wild thing!). Stir occasionally.
3) Cook rice according to instructions. Boil noodles; drain and rinse with cool water, set aside.
4) Heat olive oil in wok or other appropriate pan. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes over medium high heat. Turn heat down to medium, add 1-2 T water and broccolini (or regular broccoli if you’re thinking “what the freaks is broccolini?”) and edemame (if frozen) to heat through (cover with lid to steam veggies).
5) Add kale and noodles until kale wilts and noodles are hot. Add more tamari if it seems dry.
6) Serve with tofu mix on top of the veggies and noodles with coconut rice on the side. Top with extra green onions and nuts or pickled ginger (I even added chunks of avocado yesterday — did I mention versatility?) Of course it’s plenty of carbs and you can leave out the rice or noodles, but we liked it best with some of each. Don’t judge.