Martha Cheng covers traditional and creative combinations of Hawaii’s famous raw fish bowl in The Poke Cookbook.
Time to spice things up! Fiery Sichuan chili pepper oil imparts a roasted, nutty aroma to this poke, while a smattering of cilantro and crunchy tobiko (flying-fish roe) help cool it down. Don’t skip or swap out the Sichuan peppercorns for another pepper; their citrusy quality is what makes this chili oil special. Store the extra in a glass jar in the refrigerator and drizzle it over any poke—or not poke—that might need a spicy kick. Mixed with vinegar, it’s also good as a dipping sauce for dumplings or poured over cold, crunchy cucumbers.
- Make the chili oil: Place the red pepper flakes and Sichuan peppercorns in a small heatproof bowl. Combine the oil with the cloves, cinnamon stick, and star anise in a small saucepan and heat it over medium-high heat until it just begins to give off wisps of smoke, 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully pour the hot oil over the red pepper flakes and peppercorns, and stir well. Let the mixture cool for at least an hour and up to 24 hours. Then strain the oil into a clean glass jar and discard the spices.
- When the chili oil has cooled, poach the shrimp: Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, season it with salt, and add the shrimp. Cook until they turn pink and opaque, about 3 minutes for medium-size shrimp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to the ice water and let them cool thoroughly, about 10 minutes. Then drain, peel, and cut into ¾-inch pieces.
- In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp, cilantro, tobiko, and ¼ teaspoon salt with 2 tablespoons of the chili oil. Taste, and add more salt if desired. If you like it spicier, you can also add more chili oil.
- Serve immediately, or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to a day. If you let the poke marinate, taste it again right before serving; you may need to season it with a pinch more salt.
Reprinted from The Poke Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Martha Cheng. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Aubrie Pick. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.