Watermelon Poke

Some of you were probably intrigued by this photo on my Instagram feed, so I decided to post a recipe.

There is a popular dish called “Poke” in Hawaii, which is traditionally prepared with raw fish or seafood (most often there is a variation with tuna). Small cubes of tuna, salmon or octopus are seasoned with soy sauce, wasabi, sesame oil or mirin and, if desired, mixed with cucumbers, avocado, edamame beans or garnished with nori seaweed and laid in a bowl of steamed rice for sushi.

As a great lover of poke and Hawaii, I tried a lot of its variations. However, I came across this recipe a few months ago in Bon Appetit magazine and decided to give it a try! Honestly, I was very skeptical about this recipe but decided to try it anyway and see if tuna can be replaced by watermelon and taste good.

I will describe my impressions below.

Before we go any further, I’d like to tell you a little about the story of this dish.

Hawaiian cuisine was in fact invented by the chefs who gathered together on the islands when they became a part of the US. Poke is one of the only recipes that remained untouched, as it was invented by local aborigines. Traditionally, the dish was made from the scraps of caught fish.


Serving size:

6 small plates


  • 1.5 kg watermelon, preferably without seeds
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon of agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon of plum vinegar (optional)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves

Nutrition Per Serving:

  • 209 Calories
  • 12.4 g Fat
  • 27 g. Carbs
  • 1.5 g Fiber
  • 20 g Sugar
  • 2.8 g Protein

How to make:

Cut the watermelon into small cubes, remove the rind and put in a large plastic bag.

In a blender, combine rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice, tahini, agave nectar and vinegar. Puree until smooth.

Pour the sauce over the watermelon and place in the fridge for 4 hours. The dish can be prepared overnight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Remove the watermelon from the marinade with a sieve. Heat the frying pan over medium heat and put a watermelon into it. Cook until it is slightly caramelized for 6-8 minutes.

In a small saucepan bring the marinade to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring for 12-15 minutes, until the liquid takes a consistency of thick cream.

Chill the watermelon and sauce in separate containers for about an hour.

Serve watermelon in a small amount of sauce with finely chopped green onions and cilantro. Bon Appetit!

In general, I can say that it was quite difficult to distinguish the texture of a watermelon from tuna and this surprised me a bit. The dish turned out to be unusual, but very much like what I love so much.

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