Who loves poke? Who thinks that poke is a funny word to say? Poh-kay! OK, who hasn’t even heard of poke? It’s some good stuff, let me tell ya. It’s a raw Hawaiian fish dish, usually made with tuna. If I had to describe it, I’d say it’s Hawaii’s version of ceviche. Sorry if that’s considered blasphemy to Hawaiians. I’m just trying to come up with something similar for those who aren’t in the poke know. 😉
The fish is cubed and then tossed with a mix of soy sauce, citrus juices, sesame oil, and other flavors and served chilled as an appetizer. The other day I was flipping through a magazine, and I found a recipe that had a very weird variation of traditional poke. Watermelon poke. Say what?!
I saw that and thought “Really?” My next thought was “That’s got to be weird.” Then my stomach thought about the watermelon I had sitting at home and figured it was worth a try. My stomach is basically a child with zero impulse control. I truly had my doubts even as I was making it, but one taste after it was chilled and my doubts were gone.
The cooking of the watermelon changed the texture. Instead of being grainy and firm, the outside got slightly softened and the texture was very much ahi tuna-like. The sweetness was tamed with the marinating and the flavors all came together very well. Go figure that one! I never would have guessed this, but definitely glad I tried it out.
- 2 lbs seedless watermelon, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tsp (5g) sesame oil
- 1 1/2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 Tbsp (14g) tahini paste
- 1 tsp (4g) sugar
- 1/2 Tbsp ume plume vinegar OR fish sauce
- Sliced green onions and fresh cilantro for garnish
Cut the watermelon into cubes and place in a large bowl or zip top plastic bag. Whisk the remaining ingredients except the onions and cilantro in a bowl until well blended. Pour over the watermelon and toss or shake to coat.
Seal and place in the fridge to marinate for 4-12 hours. Heat a large pan over medium heat and remove the watermelon from the marinade. Reserve marinade. Cook the watermelon in the pan for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the watermelon softens slightly on the edges. Remove from heat.
While the watermelon cooks, heat the leftover marinade to a boil in a saucepan. Lower heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until it begins to thicken into a syrup. Remove from heat. Chill both the watermelon and sauce for 1-2 hours.
Place the watermelon into chilled glasses, garnish with the onions and cilantro, and serve with the sauce.
Makes 4 servings at approximately 120 calories each – 2g protein, 19g carbs, and 4g fat.
The original recipe was in the July issue of Bon Appetit magazine, but I modified it quite a bit from where it started. It made for a great starter to dinner, and a pretty unique way to enjoy the watermelon compared to the usual slice and munch. It definitely pays off to be adventurous in your eating so you don’t miss out on hidden gems. Impulse for the win!