Giving Thanks with Cultural Cuisine: Spicy Ahi Poke

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript

In a special pre-Thanksgiving special, hear recipes from diverse cultural cultural traditions. Dave Vera offers up Hawaiian flavors.


Every Thanksgiving dinner needs something special to start the meal off just right, and our fusion feast is no different. Contributor David Vera lives on the big island of Hawaii. He says for his friends and family, that means the pupu table.

Mr. DAVID VERA (Chef): Our group that gets together is usually between 20 and 40 people. And we start everything off with a pupu table, and this is a separate table set aside with a variety of different things people have showed up with. And one of my favorites is the Spicy Ahi Poke. We would start off this dish by cubing fresh Ahi, fresh caught Ahi, and mixing it with ingredients such as Hawaiian chili peppers, red Hawaiian sea salt, green onions, sesame oil, Maui onion, a little bit of shoyu, and a roasted kukui nut which we call Inamona.

And this is all left in the refrigerator to soak up all the flavors. And once it's been there for a few hours, we chase this down, the Spicy Ahi down with ice-cold beers. And we have a saying in Hawaii that says, lucky I live Hawaii. And it's a local saying, which means we appreciate all what we have here, and we are just glad that we live here. And that's pretty much a traditional Hawaiian Thanksgiving here on the island.

CORLEY: Chef David Vera resides in Kailua, Hawaii.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Recipe: Spicy Ahi Poke

By David Vera


1 lb fresh Ahi loin, med dice

2 tablespoons Inamona, minced (roasted kukui nut)

3 red ripe Hawaiian chili peppers, minced

2 tablespoon green onion, sml dice

1 tablespoon Hawaiian red salt

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/4 cup Maui onion, med dice

1/4 cup Aloha shoyu


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and fold together gently so as not to do tear up the Ahi. Cover and chill until ready to serve. It is essential to use fresh Ahi, the flash frozen Ahi just doesn't do it justice.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.