I’m very excited to share with you that my Paniolo Shrimp Poke was the overall amateur winner as well as the cooked category winner in Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest. I even got to meet Sam Choy himself!
Poke (poe-kay) means “to slice” and is often served as a pupu, or appetizer, here in Hawaii. Poke has deep cultural roots on the islands and the classic combination of raw ahi, inamona (ground kukui nut), sea salt, and limu seaweed can’t be beat. Over the generations poke has evolved to include countless versions influenced by the rainbow of cultures we enjoy here. We can basically sum up poke as being a seafood salad that is served raw or cooked.
When creating this recipe, I thought about what I could bring to poke from my cultural background and personal love for the islands. I also wanted to include as many locally sourced products as possible (we were required to use locally sourced seafood). As I experimented with various ingredients, it became clear that my “little bit of country” wanted to come out in this recipe. Because that is what the Big Island is for me, a wide open space and nothing but country.
I went for a paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) theme in my recipe and table display. The Big Island is covered in cattle ranches and rodeo is a very popular event. I like to think the paniolo would enjoy this poke of whole shrimp, simmered in a chipotle sauce, and mixed with sweet corn and cilantro. Please see the recipe below.