Tofu poke! It's like traditional Hawaiian poke, but made with tofu for an easy vegetarian meal. Step by step photo recipe below 🙂
Sometimes I love tofu poke even more than "regular" ahi poke.
What Is Tofu Poke?
It's exactly the same thing as ahi poke, except you replace the ahi with tofu!
We eat ahi poke a lot in Hawaii and sometimes it's nice to switch things up with a vegetarian poke. Tofu poke also makes a great last minute meal if you don't feel like driving out to get fresh fish. I don't know about you, but I love tofu and always have a few different types (soft, firm, fried!) in the fridge.
Tofu poke isn't trendy, and it certainly isn't a new thing. It's pretty common in Hawaii.
Spicy tofu poke in the top left corner from 'Ai Love Nalo (Oahu)
Where To Find Tofu Poke In Hawaii
I love the spicy tofu poke from 'Ai Love Nalo (this is a must-try spot, full post here).
Whether you are or aren't in Hawaii, it's always a good idea to make tofu poke at home. Here's how...
Ingredients For Tofu Poke
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You'll need the following ingredients:
- Block of deep-fried tofu
- Ogo (seaweed)
- Minced ginger
- Green onions
- Sesame seeds
- Hawaiian sea salt
- Sesame oil
Let's go over some these ingredients...
Deep-fried tofu from Aloha Tofu Factory (Oahu)
In Honolulu, we get most of our fresh tofu products from Aloha Tofu Factory in Kalihi (full post here - they sell to many supermarkets around town). Their deep-fried tofu is super good. If you can't find (or don't want) deep-fried tofu, you can also use firm tofu.
Limu is the Hawaiian word for seaweed. And ogo is a specific type of limu. Ogo a purple-brown color, very fine and all tangled together. What does it taste like? The ocean!
Reconstituting ogo in water
You can find fresh ogo if you are in Hawaii.
But if not, you can get dried ogo and easily reconstitute it in water. All you have to do is put the ogo in a bowl of water for 2-3 minutes. It expands about 4x. Drain the water, and then cut the reconstituted ogo into ½-inch pieces. There you have it, ogo all ready for poke!
Two popular options for dried ogo:
- This one ounce bag. 1 ounce of dry ogo turns into about 4 ounces wet ogo once you reconstitute it. I like to use about 1 ounce wet ogo per pound of tofu.
- Or a poke mix packet (pictured above) from the same brand. This packet also includes chili flakes and Hawaiian sea salt, so it's useful if you're curious about making poke but don't want to spend so much on the different ingredients. Each packet is good for a pound of tofu/ahi, etc. I keep a few of these packets at home, they come in handy.
I loooveee sesame oil, and my go-to brand is Kadoya Pure Sesame Oil. I have this giant 56 ounce tin at home, but this 11 ounce bottle should last you a few months.
We'll have more recipes with sesame oil coming up soon!
Hawaiian Sea Salt
There is no substitute for Hawaiian sea salt. You can pick between red and white Hawaiian sea salts (I used a mix of both because that's what we had at home). Don't even try making poke without Hawaiian sea salt 🙂
Tofu Poke Recipe
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together! Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (to let the flavors combine), and then take it out and eat. It couldn't be easier.
FYI, this is a very flexible recipe. Add more/less of anything you like. Just don't skip the essentials like ogo and Hawaiian sea salt. My dad loves sweet onions, so this recipe would be a no-go without those sweet onions. I also like to add inamona (roasted and crushed kukui nuts).
If you use firm tofu, make sure to drain/press the water out of the tofu. Put two layers of paper towels on a plate. Put the tofu block on top, followed by two more layers of paper towels. Then put another plate on top and weigh it down with a 1-2 cans. Leave for 30 min, then drain off the water on the place. Leave for another 30 min, drain again. Then you're good to go!
Recipe below ^_^
- Prepare the tofu: Fill a small pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add in the whole block of deep-fried tofu, and let boil for 20 seconds. Remove, drain, and cool. This helps remove the oily flavor that often comes from deep-fried tofu.
- Chop the tofu into ½-inch cubes and place in a mixing bowl.
- Add the minced ginger, chopped green onions, sesame seeds, and Hawaiian sea salt to the mixing bowl. Toss lightly.
- Mix together the sesame oil and shoyu in a small dish. Then pour over the tofu and toss till evenly mixed.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes (to let the flavors combine), and served chilled. With rice, of course 🙂
- If you can't find deep-fried tofu, you can substitute firm tofu.
- If you have onions on hand, definitely chop ½ an onion and add that in. It makes a world of difference (especially if you love onions!) Bonus points if they're sweet Maui onions.