Simple Hawaiian Tako Poke, an amazing protein-packed dish straight from the islands!
Authentic poke is my favorite take-home recipe from the Hawaiian islands.
It’s a quick sushi-like seafood salad, usually made with fresh raw sushimi grade seafood, onions, and soy sauce.
Poke can be enjoyed on it’s own as a low carb meal, but is often served with a side of rice.
We’ve been making poke at home for years. We usually prepare ahi tuna poke, because it’s easiest to find sushimi grade ahi in the Carolinas, that I feel safe leaving in its raw state.
However, in Hawaii there are many varieties of poke, at deli counters and fish markets, that are fun to explore! The fish is caught the same day it is served, so it’s extra fresh.
One poke variation I always look for when we go to Hawaii is Tako Poke. Tako (octopus) poke is usually made with baby octopus, and tends to be a little spicy.
Because octopus has a uniquely firm texture, it is a great alternative for those who hate the texture (or idea) of raw fish.
Personally, I wouldn’t serve and eat raw octopus where I live, but it’s perfectly fine to make a cooked form of this poke recipe.
In fact, Hawaiian Tako Poke is often found cooked, even in the islands.
You can find baby octopus at most quality fish markets in the mainland.
However, if you can’t get your hands on baby octopus, do not use large octopus. Instead, buy “calamari” squid. It’s usually pre-cut and cleaned, so it’s ready to cook.
Squid also keeps its fine firm texture. Whereas, adult octopus tend to be a bit too dense and rubbery for this sort of recipe.
Today’s Hawaiian Tako Poke recipe is the type of octopus poke I love the best… Made with kimchi.
The supple texture of lightly-cooked octopus (or squid) is a fabulous contrast to silky kimchi.
Furthermore, the overall delicate texture of Hawaiian Tako Poke, offers an even greater contrast to the bold spicy acidic flavor of the kimchi.
How To Make Hawaiian Tako Poke
Quickly sear the octopus or calamari in a nonstick skillet.
Then toss it with soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, honey, and kimchi.
If the kimchi is spicy, toss in chopped scallions and you are done. If it’s not spicy, add in a little sriracha sauce for heat.
Hawaiian Tako Poke is a great summer recipe you can make in minutes.
Serve it as a quick meal, or make it part of a bigger Hawaiian style feast!
We Love Hawaiian Recipes!
Hawaiian Tako Poke
Prep the Seafood: If using octopus, debeak the octopus, remove the inners, and rinse with cold water. Depending on the size, you may want to cut off the tentacles and chop the body in bite-size pieces. If using "calamari" squid, simple rinse them in cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Place a large dry nonstick skillet over high heat. Once hot, sear the octopus or squid for 2-5 minutes. It should be firm, but still tender. (Not rubbery.) Squid usually cooks in about 2 minutes, while baby octopus will take 4-5 minutes.
- Once cooked, rinse in cold water to cool. Drain well. Then place in a medium bowl. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, honey and ginger. Toss well to combine.
Chop the kimchi into small bite-size pieces, and add it to the bowl. Toss well. If the kimchi offers enough heat, skip the Sriracha sauce. If your kimchi is mild, add Sriracha to taste. Then toss in the chopped scallions. Chill until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, scoop the poke into bowls and top with finely chopped nori sheets.