When I first moved to Hawaii I just about overdosed on tuna poke. It is one of my favorite dishes of all time.
Although traditionally made with fish, poke can be made with just about any ingredient you like. To give myself a break time to time, from the mercury that is found in large fish like tuna, I make poke with beets.
This simple preparation of beet poke can be used as an appetizer, side dish or healthy mid-afternoon snack and stays fresh in the fridge up to a week.
To mimic the color of local Hawaiian Bigeye tuna I use red beets. I also use traditional poke condiments like inamona – roasted and ground kukui nuts, alaea – red Hawaiian sea salt and fresh Hawaiian chile. I have provided substitutes in the recipe below if you are unable to source these Hawaiian ingredients.
Simple Beet Poke
Use local organic ingredients when possible. Ground hazelnuts or macadamia nuts can be substituted for the inamona, red jalapeño or fresno chiles can be used to substitute the Hawaiian chile and grey or pink sea salt can be used instead of alaea.
- 4 each Small Red beets washed, leaves removed
- 2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar unseasoned
- 1/2 each Red Hawaiian Chile minced
- 1 teaspoon Inamona
- 1 sprig Mint chopped
- TT Alaea (Red Hawaiian Sea Salt)
- TT Black pepper ground
Pre-heat oven 350 degrees.
Toss the beets with 1 Tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and wrap tightly in foil. Place on a pan and roast in the oven for about an hour or until tender.
Remove from oven, unwrap the beets and allow them to cool completely.
Peel the beets and cut them into quarters.
In a bowl, mix together the beets, 1 Tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, rice vinegar, Hawaiian chile, inamona, mint, alaea and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Serve cold or at room temperature.
Need alaea? - Buy it here
Inamona can be difficult to find if you do not live in Hawaii. If you are determined to use it, instead of using one of the substitutions suggested above, I have found one website that ships. The quantities are large but you can always keep it in your freezer and take it out as needed. Need inamona? - Buy it here
Need unsweetened rice vinegar? - Buy it here
Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and experience host whose writing focuses on cooking, holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made foods.