Hoku’s ahi dip is packed with richness
Fusion cuisine brought us seared ahi, ahi carpaccio and all manner of new wave sushi with ahi. But for many, the highest and best use of a lovely raw chunk of yellowfin tuna is in basic Hawaiian poke.
There's always a chef willing to fancy it up, though, and Hoku's at the Kahala Hotel & Resort has taken poke upscale for years with its Ahi Poke Dip served in place of butter with the complimentary bread basket. If you were unscrupulous, you could get yourself seated, fill up on bread and dip, then tell your server nothing on the menu appeals to you. But that would be wrong.
A more scrupulous alternative would be making your own.
"I would really love a recipe for an Ahi Poke Dip just like the one they serve at Hoku's," wrote Amy Lum.
With the help of Hoku's, we can do better than a taste-alike. The restaurant's recipe follows. You can see it is not at all like poke in the traditional sense, which would be chunks of fish served nearly naked, with a bit of soy sauce, onion and maybe seaweed.
Soy sauce and green onions are here, but other flavors take more of the Japanese approach (sesame and pickled ginger), combined with a Caribbean ceviche touch via the citrus juices (when I need to explain poke to mainlanders, I compare it to ceviche, just to get the idea across, but, really, poke is a whole different creature, right?)
And then a handful of whipped cream is mixed in, which gives the dip the impression of lightness, despite the 6 cups of mayonnaise.
Now, this is a dip, which means you shouldn't approach it like poke and scoop it straight down your gullet. Note the nutritional analysis: 1,330 calories per serving! And that's without the bread.
So, go easy here. Less is more.
Ahi Poke Dip
6 cups mayonnaise
1 cup soy sauce (Yamasa brand preferred)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1 cup chopped Japanese pickled ginger, minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks
1/2 pound ahi, diced
1/2 cup chopped green onion
Pepper, to taste
In a large mixing bowl, incorporate mayonnaise, soy sauce, lemon and lime juices, pickled ginger, cilantro, sesame oil and sesame seeds.
In another bowl, whisk cream until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into other ingredients and fold in a quarter of the ahi and half the green onion.
Scrape ahi dip into serving bowl. Sprinkle with remaining ahi. Top with a few dashes of fresh ground black pepper and remaining green onion.
Makes 2-3/4 quarts, or 8 servings. Serve with warm French bread, lavosh, pita or artisan breads.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per 1-1/3 cup serving (not including bread): 1,330 calories, 137 g total fat, 20 g saturated fat, 85 mg cholesterol, greater than 3,700 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 11 g protein.
Nutritional analyses by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S.
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