Hamachi Poke With Cucumber and Avocado Recipe

Buttery hamachi meets crunchy cucumbers in a lemon and soy dressing. [Photographs: J. Kenji López-Alt]

Hamachi is a rich fish that’s great eaten in small, nigiri– or sashimi-size bites on its own. In a slightly larger-format dish, like poke, it needs some bright, crunchy counterparts to balance out its richness and prevent palate fatigue. Diced cucumbers, chilies, and avocado are a good start, but the real key here is thin strips of lemon zest. Some good extra-virgin olive oil in place of the traditional sesame oil also gives the dish a lighter flavor.

Why It Works

  • Crunchy cucumbers offer textural and flavor contrast with the rich, buttery hamachi.
  • Lemon zest provides bright lemon flavor without the fish-cooking effects of straight lemon juice.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil in place of sesame oil complements the other flavors in the dish without overpowering them.
  • Yield:Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer, or 2 to 3 as a main course with steamed rice
  • Active time:10 minutes
  • Total time:10 minutes
  • Ingredients

    • 12 ounces (340g) raw sashimi-grade hamachi, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 3 ounces (85g) sweet onion, such as Maui or Vidalia, cut into 1/4-inch dice
    • 1 scallion, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
    • 1 small Persian cucumber (about 4 ounces; 120g), peeled and seeded if skin or seeds are tough, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 1 small avocado (about 5 ounces; 140g), cut into 1/2-inch dice
    • 1 Thai bird or serrano chili, thinly sliced
    • 2 (1 1/2-inch) strips zest from 1 lemon, sliced as thinly as possible
    • 1 teaspoon (about 3g) white or black sesame seeds, or a mix
    • 4 teaspoons (20ml) soy sauce, more or less to taste
    • 2 teaspoons (10ml) extra-virgin olive oil, more or less to taste
    • Kosher salt
    • Steamed rice (if eating as a meal)


    1. 1.

      Combine hamachi, onion, scallion, cucumber, avocado, chili, lemon zest, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Season with a small pinch of kosher salt and gently fold to combine. Taste and adjust with more soy sauce, olive oil, or salt as desired. Let stand 5 minutes at room temperature, then serve on its own or on top of steamed rice.

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