So how does a Silicon Valley ex-pat — a Google alum, but — wind up in Hawaii as a meals author, former Honolulu Journal meals editor and writer of the brand new “Poke Cookbook” (Clarkson Potter, $17)?
A pc science diploma from Wellesley introduced San Francisco native Martha Cheng to Google. “A boy,” she says, took her to the islands. She’s been there ever since, parlaying her experiences in restaurant and bakery kitchens, meals vans and pop-ups into life as a Honolulu foodie, author and surfer.
Her new guide takes poke, the extremely common Hawaiian uncooked fish dish tossed with soy sauce, sesame oil and seasonings, and presents forty five twists on the theme, from basic to very trendy certainly. A brilliantly fuchsia beet and macadamia “poke,” for instance, was impressed by a dish at Honolulu’s Mud Hen Water. And there are non-poke dishes, as nicely, together with luau-favorites reminiscent of Kalua Pig, Lomi Salmon and Butter Mochi.
Naturally, we had questions.
Q: Bay Space, huh?
A: I grew up in Foster Metropolis, went to highschool in Palo Alto, labored in San Francisco. However when I used to be within the Peace Corps in Saint Vincent (and the Grenadines), I used to be actually struggling when somebody invited me into the kitchen to assist them prepare dinner. It was a language I might talk in. So once I was at Google, my (then-boyfriend) stated, “You clearly don’t like tech, why not attempt …”
Q: The culinary world?
A: I interned at (San Francisco’s) Miette and a few different bakeries, then got here out right here and stepped within the kitchen full-time. I used to be courting somebody who’d all the time needed to stay (in Hawaii) and we fell in love with it — properly, it took a few years to like it. It’s such a unique tradition and the locals is usually a little bit cautious of outsiders.
Q: What impressed “The Poke Cookbook”?
A: On the mainland, poke was turning into so fashionable — and (the writer) noticed the chance. Poke is tremendous easy to make at house, and you may regulate it the way you need it. A few of the recipes at first of the e-book are nearer to what you’d get right here. The Shoyu Ahi is such a basic. The Spicy Ahi is a crowd-pleaser. After which we go a bit bit nuts with belongings you would by no means discover right here.
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Q: I know your Beet and Macadamia Poke was inspired by a dish at Honolulu’s Mud Hen Water. Some of these variations seem like great options for people who don’t necessarily like raw fish, yes?
A: Yes! You can apply those (typical poke) flavors to so many things — fried tofu or cooked shrimp or tomatoes are great in those kinds of dressings.
Q: What are some of your favorite poke places in Hawaii?
A: In Honolulu, all the best spots are holes-in-the-wall. Ahi Assassins (www.ahiassassins.com) — the name of it cracks me up. It’s run by a fisherman and they have lots of varieties of fish. Ono Seafood (bit.ly/2h2uiV2) is another, if people like poke tossed to order. Maguro Brothers (www.facebook.com/magurobrothershawaii/) is another good one. They make an ume shiso (poke) that inspired one in the book. It’s herby and fresh.