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By Request

By Betty Shimabukuro

Wednesday, December 13, 2000

"Sam Choy's Sampler"
Inamona seasons this traditional-style poke
with limu and chile pepper.

Classic poke
needs inamona

Inamona -- the ground innards from roasted kukui nuts -- is a specialized Hawaiian ingredient for that specialized Hawaiian dish, poke.

"A sprinkling of inamona in poke really enhances its flavor," writes Rose Ching. She asks for instructions in preparing the ingredient, "from the fresh kukui nuts to the finished product.

Chef Sam Choy provided this guide to making inamona:

Roast the nuts whole over a grill or in a 325-degree oven until golden brown. This will take 60 to 90 minutes using either method. "Take one kukui nut to test and bash it with a hammer," Choy says. "If the meat inside is a dark brownish color, it's ready."

Cool the nuts, scrape out the meat and chop fine. Mash in a mortar with a pestle to a fine consistency. Add Hawaiian salt to taste.

Inamona should be approached with some caution. "If you use the meat from the kukui nut before it is fully cooked or you eat too much inamona, you could get the runs," Choy warns.

Choy's latest cookbook, "Sam Choy's Sampler," offers his recipe for poke with inamona, as well as other recipes for this raw fish dish.

"Sampler" (Mutual Publishing, 2000, $12.95) repackages recipes from Choy's previous books, including "Cooking from the Heart" and "The Choy of Seafood."

It is a more kitchen-friendly book than those coffee-table publications -- paperback, smaller and spiral-bound so it lies flat on the counter. It also has a helpful design that allows the front and back flaps to be used to mark pages.

Choy has also gathered some recipes into a chapter on a traditional luau, including the inamona poke. By the way, if you'd prefer to buy inamona already made, it's available from fishmarkets such as Tamashiro's and Tanioka's.

Straight Hawaiian-Style Inamona Poke

1 pound very fresh raw aku, ahi or other fish, in bite-sized cubes

1/2 cup chopped limu kohu (red seaweed)

1 teaspoon inamona (roasted, crushed kukui nut)

1 red chile pepper, minced

Salt to taste

Rinse and chop limu. Combine all ingredients. Makes 12 1/4-cup servings.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 60 calories, 2 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 140 mg sodium, 0.5 g carbohydrate, 9 g protein.*

Fried Marlin Poke

4-6 ounces raw marlin, in 1/4-inch cubes
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped ogo (seaweed)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients except vegetable oil and mix well.

Heat vegetable oil in a wok until almost smoking, and quickly sear fish on all sides for no more than 1-2 minutes total. Center should remain raw.

Serve on a bed of bean sprouts, chopped cabbage or greens. Serves 1.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 35 calories, 2 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 70 mg sodium, 1 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein.*

Summer Ahi Tartare

1 pound very fresh ahi (yellowfin tuna), in 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup minced Maui onion
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1-1/2 teaspoons grated fresh horseradish
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
Pinch red chile pepper flakes
Salt to taste
White pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse 6 times or until desired texture is reached. Do not puree.

Or, mince ahi roughly into 1/4-inch cubes, then combine with remaining ingredients.

Serve with toast points, crackers or greens. This is also particularly good served on shiso leaves. Serves 6.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 100 calories, 2.5 g total fat, no saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 190 mg sodium, 1 g carbohydrate, 18 g protein.*

Food Stuffs: Morsels

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
By Request, Honolulu Star-Bulletin Food Section,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Or send e-mail to

Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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