So each year my husband and I throw a huge blowout party. We just hosted our 8th annual Kumoniwanalaya Summer Luau complete with a (poor porky) pig roast, a DJ, dancing, pool, bartender, server, live entertainment (acoustic guy and then a fire-eater this year)....the works. We spend an ungodly amount of money just so that we can entertain almost 100 of our closest friends and have a hell of a time in the comfort of our own home and we love every second of it.
Every year since changing my diet, although we have not abandoned the pig roast part, I use the luau as a venue to showcase my culinary skills and prove to people that dairy-free and mostly meat free food can be delicious. This years biggest hit? My not-at-all-vegan but 100% delicious ceviche topped the charts. I dont have pictures, but I served said ceviche in empty and sanitized scallop shells passed around by our lovely server.
Next came one of my scariest recipes yet. I thought it sounded like a brilliant idea and when I made it, it smelled great but watching it marinate in my fridge, I got nervous. I even told my friends who were helping me prepare for my soiree that I had this idea for a Hawaiian favorite, tuna poke (pronounced pokey) but minus tuna, plus tofu. While I would LOVE to serve tuna poke, lets be honest, at nearly $30 per pound, that is not a feasible option for serving about 100 people. In addition, I wanted to create a recipe that did not involve fish since most of the food I prepared for hors d'oeuvres was in fact, seafood. Salmon cakes with dill 'sour creme', shrimp cocktail, ceviche....tuna poke just sounded so divine, so elegant, so perfectly 'luau', I had to try to make it with tofu.
And I did. Successfully. And it was effing awesome. I am not one to toot my own horn, but TOOT freaking TOOT...I surprised myself. It was elegant, beautiful to look at and full of flavor. While the tofu didnt fool many people, the color confused people and it was close enough for normally unwilling tofu-eaters to taste, and fall in love with. I did not use vegan wontons, though I hear they exist. This was meat and dairy free but the wontons I am sure had egg.
And I present you with....AHI TU-NO TOFU POKE
Ahi Tofu Poke
Makes 25-40 ahi tofu wontons depending on size
1 lb firm tofu (Not silken), drained and pressed at least a few hours
1/2 medium cucumber
3 green onions
1/3 c tamari
1 Tbsp beet juice*
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp sriracha sauce
2 Tbsp white sesame seeds
1/2 tsp dulse powder
1 large sheet toasted nori seaweed OR 3-4 sheets of the snack size toasted seaweed
1 package won-tons
1-2 avocados, diced
1 lime, for juice
high heat oil, for frying
black or white sesame seeds
hoisin sauce (optional)
sriracha sauce (optional)
Dice the tofu into a small dice like the size of tuna poke. Peel and seed the cucumber and dice that as well. Chop green onions, white and green parts into 1/4" or smaller pieces. Toss together in a bowl.
In a seperate bowl, whisk tamari, beet juice, lime juice, sesame oil, ginger, sriracha, sesame seeds and dulse powder.
In a blender, food processor or with a mortar and pestle grind the seaweed until it is almost a powder but not quite. Add that to the tamari mix. Toss this marinade with your tofu mixture.
Store in an airtight, shallow dish or tupperware for 8 hours or overnight. Turn over or toss as needed to make sure it is evening marinating.
When tofu is ready, cut wontons on the diagonal. Sprinkle the juice of the second lime over the diced avocado and set aside. Heat about 1" oil in a skillet to medium heat. Have tongs ready...these puppies fry up FAST. It only takes a few seconds each. Prepare a plate with paper towels next to the stove to drain fried wontons.
When the oil is hot, place a few wontons in the oil. Fry them only a few seconds on each side. As soon as they are a medium-light brown color, remove them to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
To serve, Top each crispy wonton with a small heap of the tofu poke and then with a little of the diced avocado. Likewise, you could serve the tofu poke in a small dish with crispy wontons for dipping.
Optional: sprinkle with sesame seeds, drizzle hoisin or sriracha over it.
*Yes, I actually ran a beet through my juicer as suggested by my friend Deanna when I was running the idea by her. This gives the tofu a reddish pink color likened to tuna.