“Chopped raw fish, or poke, was part of my everyday life when I was growing up in La’ie, the rural town on O’ahu’s north shore. The sea was our playground,” penned Chef Sam Choy in his book Poke, Mutual Publishing, 2009.
In the old days, fresh-caught reef fish would be cut up and seasoned with salt produced by evaporation of the ocean water. Then inamona (ground roasted candlenut) and limu (seaweed) were mixed in. That’s it.
As a nod to Hawaiian poke of the past…here, buttery marcona almonds stand in for local candlenuts, and dashi seaweed broth brings the essence of the sea. Ginger, scallions, soy sauce, and yuzu juice lend background complexity and Japanese touches, while cucumber adds a cool fresh crunch. But this recipe keeps true to its old-style Hawaiian roots – simple, delicious, and uncomplicated – high quality fish with no spicy mayonnaise or syrupy sauces squirted on top.
Chef Sam Choy is a four-time nominee for the James Beard Best Pacific Regional chef award, winning in 2004. He is often credited as the “Godfather of Poke” and the Culinary Ambassador of the Big Island. Read my interview with him about poke and sustainability here.
We’ve been enjoying Dynamite at sushi restaurants for decades, but had never thought to prepare it at home. Recently we enjoyed another fabulous meal at Roy Choi’s Best Friend on the Vegas Strip. Every single dish was intriguing, with bold delicious flavors. His Uni Dynamite Rice was no exception.
Now, the other day I made another fantastic platter of sockeye salmon crudo, and had some leftover pieces of salmon after I had arranged the fish on the plate. Since receiving my shipment of sashimi-grade Alaskan salmon, I’ve been looking for more raw fish recipes. I pulled out Chef Sam Choy’s cookbook, Poke, and came across his recipe for Salmon Dynamite.
As a super-tasty use for my leftover salmon pieces and a way to reimagine Best Friend’s dish… the inspiration for my Salmon and Scallop Dynamite recipe comes from Chef Roy Choi and Chef Sam Choy. A Choi-Choy Dynamite you might say.
Sam Choy is a four-time nominee for the James Beard Best Pacific Regional chef award, winning in 2004. He is often credited as the “Godfather of Poke” and the Culinary Ambassador of the Big Island. Read my interview with him about poke and sustainability here.
Chef Roy Choi’s amazing Uni Dynamite Rice is pictured above with salmon roe, sriracha, yuzu, and sesame. All the dishes we have tried are unique and mind-blowing. On a previous visit to Best Friend we had an extraordinary vegetarian Eggplant Schnitzel, read about it here.
The Chef says of his restaurant at Park MGM, “It’s Koreatown in a capsule – a portal to the streets of LA, but also rooted in what makes Las Vegas… VEGAS.”
Last weekend I wrote about our fabulous holiday party held at Brouwerij West in Warehouse No. 9 at the Port of Los Angeles. Due to the overwhelming local response and interest in the new brewery and Crafted, I decided to share another event that I attended at Crafted a little while back. Crafted is right next door to Brouwerij West, located in Warehouse No. 10. The event was the 2nd Annual Sustainable Seafood Expo and Chef’s Table Dinner, hosted by the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and Friends.
The Expo was designed to help consumers choose the right fish for their dish – one that’s healthy and good for the environment as well. Choosing the right fish can have a positive impact on the marine environment and the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium leads the way in educating local consumers, chefs, and restaurateurs on this topic.
Chefs, Fishermen, Local Experts, and A Real Mermaid were on hand to explain fisheries, habitats, and species management to promote and sustain wild, diverse, and healthy ocean ecosystems that will last long into the future. Ongoing seafood sampling and educational opportunities were available at booths throughout the Expo. The dinner was a stunning al fresco farm-to-table dining experience, featuring locally sourced seafood and seasonal fare prepared by Chef Paul Buchanan of Primal Alchemy.
BROUWERIJ WEST is a SAN PEDRO BREWERY & TASTING ROOM – Brewing Belgian-inspired craft beers in a restored massive WWII- era Warehouse No. 9 at the Port of Los Angeles.
CRAFTED AT THE PORT OF LOS ANGELES is a large-scale permanent handmade artisan marketplace. The classically restored Warehouse No. 10 is home to more than 100 individual artists, crafters and food makers, each presenting their unique handcrafted goods in a vibrant patchwork of shop spaces.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Chef Sam Choy explains how the islanders would watch the old Hawaiian “landkeepers” take care of the environment, and how they would embrace the magic of kapu.
Kapu represents a period of time when there is no fishing, no taking from the earth. “It is when we leave the earth time to replenish itself,” Choy said. “If we keep depleting, there will be nothing left for our great great grandkids. We need to protect. We need to care. We want them to have what we are enjoying.”
Choy’s philosophy has always been like that – protecting, caring. He lives that way, he says. Keeping the ocean pristine and vibrant, allowing the nature of the ocean to be plentiful. “Living in Hawaii, you have to believe in that, we are surrounded by water, after all.”
This post is the third in a series promoting sustainable seafood.
“Pasta salads and poke are made for each other – both are best served cold, both use a blend of multiple flavors, and both taste great. The best thing about this dish, aside from the taste, is its versatility. If mahimahi is not your favorite, simply substitute ahi, wahoo, or any other fish. You simply cannot go wrong.” -Sam Choy