Making poke, Molokai style
WHEN Shane Sumarnap makes poke, it's not a matter of cutting up some store-bought ahi and mixing in some store-bought soy sauce. That's the wimpy way.
Sumarnap hits the beach to catch fish, poke squid, harvest opihi, pick limu ... Then he dries the aku and the he'e (squid) in the sun.
"It's a lifestyle," he says. "I take my kids and teach them the lifestyle."
Sumarnap does all this on Molokai, but he brought his poke to the Aloha Festivals Poke Contest, held at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on the Big Island -- and won the grand prize.
His recipe follows, but the raw truth is unless you have his talent for hunting and gathering, you'll find it hard to pull off. Not all the ingredients can be found at the grocery store.
His O'io Lomi Moloka'i -- which also won the Traditional Poke category -- relies on a mix of fresh and dried fish, crab, opihi and squid, not to mention a couple kinds of limu, and inamona, or ground kukui nuts. The only thing he bought was salt, and it was Molokai sea salt. His father-in-law even roasted and ground the inamona.
Even if you can't duplicate his dish, Sumarnap's ambitious recipe is worth studying. Try incorporating some of his ideas into your next poke experiment.
Other winners at the Sept. 9 competition: Best Cooked Poke, Aaron Barfield, Waikoloa; Best Poke with Limu, Cyrus Field, Waimea; Best Poke with Soy Sauce, Ilona O'Brien, Captain Cook.
O'io Lomi Moloka'i
6 pounds scraped oio (bonefish, see note)
2 pounds alaeke (white) crab meat
3 cups shelled opihi
1/2 cup inamona (ground kukui nut)
3 cups finely sliced dried aku
3 cups finely sliced dried squid
1 cup limu kohu (seaweed, also called ogo), chopped
1 cup waiwaiiole (seaweed, also called rat's foot), chopped
Sea salt, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and lomi (massage, or firmly mix) to make a paste (start using your hands, then switch to a spoon). Chill.
Note: To scrape oio, first freeze fish. Lomi the fish to soften the meat. Fillet, then scrape or flake the meat off the bones in a head-to-tail direction.
Nutritional information unavailable.
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