Written by Desireeh Chevere | Reviewed by Jennifer Calo MS, RDN, CDN, CLT
Calling all seafood lovers! Have you heard of the popular new food trend, Hawaiian Poke? The dish has been around for centuries but has become increasingly popular in NYC in the last couple of years. Poke (pronounced “poh-KAY”) means “chunk” in Hawaiian and it is a raw seafood salad cut into chunks, often marinated with soy sauce and sesame oil. There are many variations of the dish, but the most common is raw tuna in a marinade with onions, scallions, and seaweed. It is similar to tartare and ceviche, but with a bolder, less acidic flavor. Not only is Poke a delicious and colorful meal, it offers nutritional benefits as well!
Fish is a great source of protein that is overall low in calories and saturated fat. Poke is rich in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, while also improving other cardiovascular risk factors. According to the American Heart Association, eating fish in moderation, such as twice a week, can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Fish intake can also lower your risk of mental decline and depression. While fish does contain mercury, research confirms the benefits of omega-3s far outweigh the risk of mercury contamination. Those concerned about the mercury levels of fish can opt for salmon, which is significantly lower in mercury than tuna.
There are endless varieties of Poke, and you can even make it at home! Make sure to purchase local, very fresh sashimi or sushi-grade fish. All you need is your choice of fish (salmon or tuna), vegetables (edamame, onions, carrots, or cucumber), soy sauce, sesame oil, and the best part- the seasonings! Have fun experimenting with wasabi, ginger, scallions, and even avocado for a savory flavorful meal.
This delicious food trend gets the stamp of approval from Registered Dietitian Nutritionists!