Korean-style poke is great for game day
AS I UNDERSTAND it, that silly football game this weekend involves the Chicago Bears. Bears eat fish (I've seen them on nature videos -- they use their bare bear hands to grab 'em straight out of rivers). Fish is in poke. Which makes today a good time to deal with Kim Tottori's request for a Korean-style poke.
Poke is actually perfect for Super Bowl dining, Hawaii-style. Goes well with beer, No. 1. Nice texture contrast with chips and dip, No. 2. Just break out the chopsticks.
As for Tottori's specific request: "I'm a local girl and didn't attempt eating poke until I was about 29 years old. Some friends took me to a karaoke bar by Pearlridge called Green Apple. They convinced me to try the Korean-style poke. I crave it today, but the bar has closed down."
Well, Green Apple being out of the equation, Tottori agreed to accept another Korean-style formula for poke, so we turn to Sam Choy, Mr. Poke, the chef who pretty much turned the dish into Hawaii's soul food.
His new cookbook, "Aloha Cuisine" (Mutual Publishing, 2006, $24.95), includes this recipe for a poke that uses kim chee base. This substance, as its name implies, is the key flavoring ingredient in kim chee. It's a paste made of chili peppers, garlic and other powerhouse flavorings, sold refrigerated in most markets near the kim chee. There are also self-stable versions sold in Asian supermarkets.
Choy's advice is to keep the fish very cold.
1 pound fresh ahi, in 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium tomato, in 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup ogo (limu kohu seaweed), chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion, in 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup diced cucumber, in 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup diced green onion
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed, minced chili peppers (seed peppers first)
1 teaspoon kim chee base
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Toss gently. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper if needed. Makes 16 1/4-cup servings.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving (not including salt to taste): 45 calories, 0.5 g total fat, no saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrate, no fiber, 1 g sugar, 7 g protein.
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