Surf City Mango Poke

ahi poke, ceviche, mango poke, surf city poke

As some of you know, I recently migrated from the burbs to beachside in Huntington Beach. I’ve come full circle: my first place in California, two decades ago, was a little apartment on Hermosa Avenue in Hermosa Beach, affectionately dubbed the “Shoebox”. It was small, but it overlooked The Strand; coming from the Midwest, that was all that mattered – I hadn’t scraped together every poor-college-student penny to live in a city that could be Anywhere. U.S.A.

My beach roots go even further back to my family ties in Hawaii, the Garden Isle of Kauai, specifically. And, after my  beach-going years, there’s still little better than heading to the beach first thing Saturday morning (or even late afternoon) with a cooler full of icy drinks and fresh chilled poke. The basic poke mixture of cubed raw ahi (tuna), salty seaweed, and crunchy sweet onions is so delicious and refreshing, I’m salivating just writing about it.

The word poke (pronounced poh-keh) is Hawaiian, meaning “to slice or cut crosswise into pieces.” The poke first eaten by native Hawaiians was a simple mixture of raw fish, Hawaiian salt, seaweed and chopped kukui nuts (called inamona in Hawaiian).  Post-colonial contact, that basic recipe got a bit more interesting with the introduction of onions and, sometimes, tomatoes to the mix. Go to most fish markets in Hawaii today and you’ll find a wide selection of poke—from tako (octopus) with ginger and garlic to tofu in shoyu with watercress and tomato. We’ve seen poke recipes with raw crab, cooked shrimp, clams, smoked salmon, pipi kaula (dried and smoked beef), even seared ribeye steak. There are now hundreds of poke recipes in Hawaii for every kind of taste. {Source: Hawaii Magazine}

ahi poke, mango, surf city mango poke, ceviche

Inspired by the box of mangoes that arrived at my door from the National Mango Board a month or so after Camp Blogaway where I witnessed McKinzey and Melanie’s tasty mango presentation which managed to silence (more or less) the Wente-buzzed after-dinner crowd by offering a taste test (what better way to silence us) of green, ripe, and over ripe mangoes with complementary condiment pairings and wrangling Greg aka Sippity Sup front and center to demonstrate how to cut a mango without mutilating it.

Mango Board, mango tasting

I decided to put my own spin on the ubiquitous ahi poke where mango would be the co-star, so, instead of red-fleshed ahi, I selected a firm, yet tender, meaty white Pacific seabass to complement the sweet chunks of mango rather than upstage it. Surf City Mango Poke shouts summer with cubes of the cool white-fleshed fish swathed in a creamy, crunchy, spicy flavor bomb spiked with the tender, soft, sweet flesh of sunny tropical mango.

ahi poke, mango, surf city mango poke, ceviche

This whole move-to-the-beach episode has made me a really bad blogger for the past two months: never in my 2+ years as a food blogger have I posted only once a week and been too busy to cruise and comment on my favorite blogs. I’m in a kitchen I still haven’t adjusted to, a house hemmed in by two other tall houses which makes for tricky, almost non-existent lighting, and my photography “equipment” is stuffed in a closet.  This is the last dish I photographed before I moved and at least it was my own creation, but now what? I’ve been doing the protein, starch, veggie plate nearly every night and I’m not writing a cookbook which could offer me a few more months of coasting. I’m looking to nature: the enduring beauty of sea meeting sun and sand to regain some of the old sparkle :)

Happy Summer! Create your little slice of paradise, preferably at the beach, but patio or pool-side will do, a cooler of chilled drinks at your side, the sun in your eye, music in your ears, and that shaka-brah island spirit in your heart.


25 Responses to “Surf City Mango Poke”

  1. Patty July 6 at 8:09 am #

    It all sounds good Priscilla! The poke, the new house, the sun and the surf;-) I like the idea of your lighting equipment in a closet- the sound of that has a definite appeal 😉 Although I have to say I like your Hawaiian style photos;-)

    • Priscilla July 12 at 7:25 pm #

      You made me smile, Patty. I’m going to have to haul that stuff out of the closet soon!

  2. Laura (Tutti Dolci) July 6 at 8:43 am #

    I love your pairing of seabass with mango, how delicious! This dish makes me want to jet off to Hawaii for a week :).

    • Priscilla July 12 at 7:27 pm #

      Me too, Laura! Thank you :)

  3. Glad that you are now settled into your new home and really back home. :-) I have never had poke but need to try it someday. Love the mango addition. Hope you have a terrific weekend!!!

    • Priscilla July 12 at 7:50 pm #

      I hope you try it someday, Lisa – it’s a lot like ceviche. Of course, you’ll only find it with mango here 😉 Hope you have a fab weekend too!

  4. Angie@Angie's Recipes July 6 at 9:49 pm #

    This is so summery and appetizing!

  5. Lisa July 7 at 1:35 am #

    I never knew you were originally from the Mid-West – I thought you were a native Californian…surfing as a teen etc :) I love poke, and the addition of mango is perfect. So glad you’re enjoying your new home by the beach – that would be sheer heaven to me!

    I was cutting up mangoes for fish tacos on the 4th, and as always..the song ‘slip sliding away’ played in my head as I tried to cut off all the fruit around the pit after the initial cuts lol Another beautiful, exotic, and healthy recipe from you that I can’t wait to try!

  6. Sandra's Easy Cooking July 7 at 6:43 am #

    This sound like a very delicious dish..and your presentation makes me want some! Great photos too! Enjoy your weekend!

  7. Barbara | Creative Culinary July 7 at 1:11 pm #

    I’m from the Midwest too; now in the burbs of Denver, CO and thinking my transition might be either further up the mountain or closer to the ocean; I still miss living in NC though I love it here.

    The dish sounds so perfectly summer fresh and lovely. I would happily poke around for a bit. :)

  8. Magic of Spice July 7 at 5:41 pm #

    What a great recipe…love the mango here!

    Hope you are getting settled in…sorry about the re-schedule, but excited to see your new place soon :)

  9. Liren July 10 at 8:20 pm #

    Happy Summer, Priscilla! I’m so excited for you as you settle into your new home. Your post reminded me of our place when we lived in Redondo Beach – I have such fond memories of the Strand, the afternoon sea breezes, and yes, the buildings so close together, I probably would have struggled to photograph in my kitchen! But sigh, what a special place, being close to the ocean again. Enjoy!! I love the mango in the poke!

    • Priscilla July 13 at 10:36 pm #

      Thank you so much, Liren. I’ve been fortunate to live near the beach since coming to California way back when. I have fond memories of the Strand between Redondo-Hermosa-Manhattan Beach :)

  10. Nami | Just One Cookbook July 11 at 1:07 am #

    Sounds like you settled into your beach home very nicely. It’s a great time to enjoy your new home near the beach! We’re going to Santa Barabara next month and I’m just excited that we can get to “warm” beach (you know up here it can be pretty cold). I love poke and nice to put my other favorite – mango! Very summery and I already love it!

  11. Nami | Just One Cookbook July 11 at 1:07 am #

    Sounds like you settled into your beach home very nicely. It’s a great time to enjoy your new home near the beach! We’re going to Santa Barbara next month and I’m just excited that we can get to “warm” beach (you know up here it can be pretty cold). I love poke and nice to put my other favorite – mango! Very summery and I already love it!

    • Priscilla July 13 at 10:39 pm #

      Thanks, Nami! I adore mango. I think Nor Cal is having warmer weather than we are this week! Yesterday and last night we had rain even. Have fun in Santa Barbara!

  12. Jean July 11 at 11:04 am #

    I agree wholeheartedly with you that there is almost nothing better than living so close to the ocean–I still fantasize about it. And Kauai? It’s my favorite of the islands since it’s the first trip hubs and I ever took together and also where we got married. On Maui there is a poke nacho dish that I look forward to every year. Yours looks stellar. What a wonderful way to use the mangoes!

    • Priscilla July 13 at 10:19 pm #

      Kauai’s breathtaking beauty and tropical splendor is meant for lovers! How wonderful that you were married there, too. Poke nachos are the bomb – you could do that with this recipe, too. Thanks so much, Jean :)

  13. i’ve always thought you’re from sunny California.
    The beach, the sun, surf all sounds like a piece of paradise.
    I have never thought of this type of dish (not even in my Hawaiian dream trips LOL) but I’m glad you shared the recipe :)

  14. Kim July 13 at 11:18 am #

    Congrats on the move! I know how it feels to be out of your routine. That was me when we blasted out our kitchen last year and I had nowhere to cook, let alone blog.

    My poke experience is limited to the poke bowl they serve at Tommy’s Sushi in Tustin. It’s full of so much more than seaweed and tuna. I know it isn’t “authentic,” but it’s still delicious.

    A question: Where do I pick-up kelp granules so I can make your version?


    • Priscilla July 13 at 10:06 pm #

      Departures from authentic can be a good thing! I’ll have to try Tommy’s ahi poke someday.
      Regarding the kelp granules – I’m sure I bought it at Mother’s or WF – it’s a great salt substitute.

  15. Hester aka The Chef Doc July 13 at 5:15 pm #

    Congratulations on moving to HB, Priscilla! Tall houses… are you off PCH? I’m always walking along PCH at night since that’s when there are less people and the weather is much cooler. This poke looks so yummy! I should definitely try making pokes more often.

    • Priscilla July 13 at 10:24 pm #

      Hi, Hester – yes, I’m right of PCH. I walk my Corgi in the early evenings, maybe we’ll run into each other along the Strand. Yes, make more poke :)

  16. Nancy July 25 at 6:10 am #

    Hi Priscilla,
    It sounds like you’ve settled nicely into your new home. I long to live by or preferably right on the beach, some day. The poke looks amazing! I can picture you enjoying it while sitting out on your porch and listening to the wave crashing. Sigh:)

  17. Julia {The Roasted Root} August 21 at 1:06 pm #

    Very fun post! I can’t tell you how much I LOVE seafood and there’s just something about eating heaping portions of yumminess out of a bowl. I’d totally relax at the beach with ya and enjoy this recipe!

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