Two dishes from the newlyweds!
While in Kauai we first discovered poke (pronounced “po-keh”) at the Hanalei Dolphin restaurant in Hanalei Bay. Poke means to “to slice or cut” and is a popular appetizer or snack throughout the islands. I renamed the dish “deconstructed sushi” as it is essentially all of the familiar sushi ingredients: raw, fresh fish (usually tuna or whatever fresh fish is available) and sticky rice and sometimes avocado, Maui onions, seaweed and nut relish, seasoned with sesame oil and soy sauce. After I had my first first taste, I think I ordered this dish every time I saw it on a menu.
One of my favorite places to have poke was at the local Kilauea Fish Market in Kilauea, Kauai. We popped in here to grab some poke and macaroni salad to bring on the road. The fish market was barely large enough for a few people to stand in line inside and there were a few scattered picnic tables outside for people to hang out. It was BYOB too, which helps makes eating out in Kauai much more affordable! I’d have to say my least favorite place for poke was poolside at the Westin in Maui. A few hours later I had a pretty bad stomach ache and I figured I should probably have been a bit more discriminating in my restaurant choices..
(This isn’t poke exactly, but some super fresh Ahi tuna and avocado from Star Noodle in Maui. It was amazing! Thought I’d include the picture because it is almost like poke, minus the rice)
We also enjoyed our fair share of Mai Tais and other fruity drinks poolside at the resorts. We were told Mai Tais were basically “rum wells” because of how much rum they contain, which is well masked by the blend of fruit juices. Here’s a pic of our first “umbrella drinks” at the St. Regis. Mai Tais became our drink of choice, considering the drink prices these were the most bang for our buck!
sushi rice (recipe below)
1 lb. fresh ahi tuna, cubed into bite size pieces
1/4 c. Maui (sweet red) onion, minced
1/4 c. green onion minced
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. red pepper chili flakes
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1-2 tsp. sesame oil
2 avocado, diced small
1-2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds, optional
Hawaiian salt, to taste
Cut the fish into cubes. In a large bowl, combine the fish, onions, ginger, chili flakes, soy sauce, sesame oil and salt; mix lightly. Chill for a couple of hours then add the chopped avocado and chill another couple of hours. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
When we made ours, we used a ring mold and pressed in some of the sushi rice into the bottom (about 1/2″ of rice) then topped with some of the poke and then carefully removed the mold onto each plate.
2 c. uncooked glutinous white rice (sushi rice)
3 c. water
1/2 c. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 c. white sugar
1 tsp. salt
Rinse the rice in a strainer or colander until the water tuns clear. Combine with water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, their educe the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Rice should be tender and water should be absorbed. Cool until cool enough to handle.
In a small saucepan, combine the rice vinegar, oil, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Cool, then stir into the cooked rice. When you pour this in to the rice it will seem very wet. Keep stirring and the rice will dry as it cools. You can fan this to help the cooling process.
Cute little umbrella’s decorate the drink. Ours turned out much more orange than those that we had in Hawaii. I think the trick is to have a really, really dark rum to use as a floater. We also ended up adding some pineapple juice which cut down on the orange color resulting from too much Orange Curacao.
1 oz. Dark Rum
1 oz. Light Rum
1 oz. orange curacao
2 oz. orange juice
1/2 oz. lime juice
Dash Orgeat and simple syrup
Shake all together, pour in glass, serve and enjoy.