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mutual inspiration

Recipe: california roll poke

Ski resort seasons are coming to an end, but it seems that the atmosphere is not ready to call it quits just yet. We had a nice 9-inch dump of snow late last week which made for some excellent early turns Thursday, and some fine backcountry skiing Friday. Spring skiing is not like winter skiing. The snow is heavy and wet, rather than light as a feather and powdery. But… I’m not bundled to the hilt either because it’s spring and warm(er). You really do work up a sweat. I actually love that!

upslope event meant clouds and snow on the plains

snow blanketing the mountains – that’s what i like

Friends of mine who live just 3000 feet below us are starting to post photos of mountain bike rides, trail runs, and other sunny and warm endeavors. My heart keeps telling me, “Get more turns before the snow melts!” while my brain is thinking, “We need to get riding and running!” Really though, as long as I can be active and outside then I’m happy. Meanwhile, I’m flipping through Facebook the other day and see my friend, Allison (who runs Fridgg), has posted a photo of her latest dining exploits in Southern California. California roll poke. I had to have it. HAD TO HAVE IT.

Allison says that I inspire her with my recipes, yet she inspires me with all of the awesome food she enjoys (and posts photos of)! If I lived near her, we’d eat out together all the time because I absolutely love her taste in food. And I love Allison.

crab legs, maguro (sashimi-grade tuna), green onions, avocado, cucumber, black and white sesame seeds, flake sea salt, masago (flying fish roe), soy sauce, sesame oil

Poke is a Hawai’ian raw fish salad. When Jeremy and I were last on the Big Island, we visited the local Foodland grocery store in Hilo. There was an entire fish counter dedicated to over a dozen types of gorgeous, fresh poke. So when I went looking for a California roll poke recipe, the one from Foodland’s site by Chef Keoni Chang was what I used as a template. There is a good deal of flexibility on the ingredients, so use what you like best and what is available to you. Just be sure the fish is sashimi-grade. I used maguro instead of ahi tuna, and I didn’t sear my fish because I like it completely raw. For the crab, you don’t have to go for King crab legs as it can be prohibitively expensive and hard to source. Lump crab meat works or even surimi, imitation crab meat (aka Krab). And the best cucumbers are the crisp, less seedy kind like Japanese, Persian, or English cucumbers.

slice cucumbers

dice the tuna

peel the crab

I think the Sriracha mayonnaise is optional, because some people really dislike mayonnaise. I like it in my California rolls and I thought it was good in the poke, but could imagine the poke would still be quite delicious without the Sriracha mayonnaise. You could add the Sriracha and rice vinegar and omit the mayonnaise too.

rice vinegar, sriracha, mayonnaise, sea salt

mix it together


Almost all of the prep goes into slicing, dicing, and stirring. When the ingredients are ready, it’s just a matter of mixing it together. If using the Sriracha mayonnaise, I recommend adding half of it first. See if that’s enough for your liking. If not, add more. Fold the tuna into the poke last. In my photos, I forgot to add the soy sauce and sesame oil before the tuna. It’s okay, but in general, add the tuna at the end.

ready to rock

adding the sriracha mayonnaise

toss it all (except the tuna) together

I think the tuna gets added last to maintain its nice shape. Even so, when I had to toss the poke a second time to mix in the sesame oil and soy sauce, the tuna held up rather well. That said, ripe avocado will deteriorate more and more with each tossing.

add the maguro (tuna)

don’t forget the sesame oil and soy sauce

Aside from extracting the meat from the crab legs, the poke is super quick and easy to throw together. There’s no cooking, just chopping, mixing, and eating! And talk about eating… heaven in my mouth. Jeremy and Kaweah were both very excited to the point of dancing about the table where I was plating the poke. Can you blame them? This is an absolutely dreamy combination of flavors and textures – much of what makes the California roll so appealing. It serves up beautifully as an appetizer or a main. Either way, it will make for happy tummies.

garnish with nori (toasted seaweed) strips, crab, masago, daikon radish sprouts

my kind of happy meal

California Roll Poke
[print recipe]
based on this recipe

8 oz. maguro (sashimi grade tuna)
1 cup crab meat (king crab, lump blue crab, or imitation)
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1/2 cup Japanese, Persian, or English cucumber, sliced thin or medium dice (1/2-inch cubes)
1 cup avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut to medium dice (1/2-inch cubes)
2 tbsps masago or tobiko (flying fish roe)
4 tsps sesame oil
2 tbsps soy sauce
2 tbsps toasted sesame seeds
1/2 -3/4 cup Sriracha mayonnaise (see below for recipe)
flake sea salt

sriracha mayonnaise
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2-3 tbsps Sriracha hot sauce (to taste)
2 tbsps rice vinegar
salt to taste

Make the Sriracha mayonnaise: Mix the mayonnaise, Sriracha, and rice vinegar together. Season with salt to taste. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Make the poke: Cut the tuna into 3/4-inch cubes (large dice) and set aside. In a medium or large bowl, combine the crab meat, green onions, cucumber, avocado, masago or tobiko, sesame oil, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and half of the Sriracha mayonnaise until well-mixed. Add more mayonnaise as desired. Gently fold in the tuna. Serve immediately with flake sea salt sprinkled on top. Optional: Garnish with extra crab meat, nori (toasted seaweed) strips, and daikon radish sprouts. Serves 4-8 (depending on meal or appetizer portions).

more goodness from the use real butter archives

tuna poke shiso spicy tuna tempura (dragon scales) california roll burger volcano roll sushi

14 nibbles at “mutual inspiration”

  1. Eva @ Eva Bakes says:

    We ate poke everywhere we went in Hawaii. We still make it on every wedding anniversary since we honeymooned in the Hawaiian islands. This looks so, so good, and I bet it would go great with a nice seaweed salad too!

  2. Allie says:

    Looks absolutely fantastic. How does one pronounce poke? I have the urge to say it like “poh-kay” but I’ve heard Hawaiians say it like “pokey.”

  3. jill says:

    You make everything look so beautiful.

  4. samantha says:

    Thanks Jen – another wonderful post! and the poke – got to try it – you make it so simple! thanks

  5. Currently Crushing On. | How Sweet It Is says:

    […] california roll poke. absolutely […]

  6. Laura @ Blogging Over Thyme says:

    This looks so ridiculously good!

  7. Kate says:

    Beautiful photos as always. I love poke, but it’s hard to find limu and kukui nut on the East Coast, where I live, so I like the idea of making a California roll version. Yum.

  8. Lindsay says:

    Poke is one of my favorite dishes! I google places and grocery stores in hi for inspiration too! Love this so much, I made it for dinner last night and it was just as good as your gorgeous photography made it look :)

  9. atasteofmadess says:

    This is gorgeous! I can`t even stand it!

  10. jenyu says:

    Eva – it’s definitely one the must have treats when we visit Hawai’i!

    Allie – I think you are saying it correctly, but I’ve heard all manner of pronunciations.

    jill – thank you :)

    samantha – you’re very welcome!

    Laura – it’s awesome, I hope you try it!

    Kate – :)

    Lindsay – awww, yay! So happy you enjoyed it too!

    atasteofmadness – :)

  11. Heather says:

    I usually don’t comment on blogs but after making this recipe, my partner and I were so amazed by how delicious this was that I wanted to give credit where credit was do. It rocked, like… out of this world! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I did not have the toasted seaweed or the radish sprouts but I did add some pickled ginger to the plating and it was exactly like having sushi (minus the rice). I have since been reading up on all your recipes and am loving them all. Thank you thank you thank you, from Wilmington NC!

  12. M. Akamu says:

    The correct pronunciation of POKE is

    KE AS IN: PEN, DEN (not like key, not like the name Kay)

    Both o and e are short sounds. I hope this helps. Aloha!

  13. Allison says:

    Made this tonight…it was amazing! There weren’t ripe avocados ANYWHERE and I used “Krab with a K” instead of king crab (cost prohibitive considering how much of this the BF and I can eat!). Also diced a bit of mango on top and added shreds of pickled ginger. Will be making this very often :)

  14. Jette says:

    Did this with pickled watermelon and daikon radish as well as pickled English cucumber as the garnish around that’s my only added thing but came out great. Also used a mold to get the shape

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