Kukui nut in poke in the OC?

I caught a food/cooking show on PBS over the weekend that featured real Hawaiian poke being made from freshly caught fish on Maui. A featured ingredient was ground kukui nut. I’ve Googled a bit and found this to be the real deal, but I’ve never seen it on a poke menu here in the South OC. It can be bought on line but is there anywhere it can be found as an add-on to a poke bowl in the area?

I don’t know, but I’d go out of my way to avoid eating them again.

Now THAT’S a ringing endorsement. :roll_eyes: Must be an ‘acquired’ taste.

Kawamata is probably the best poke in OC and I think unfortunately they do not have it.


Robert, before this topic faded would you please elaborate a bit. I think the show I saw was something with Curtis Stone and, of course, he said the poke was amazingly good. What did it taste like?

I googled “Are Kukui nuts edible?”.

Kukui nuts

“Kukui nuts were once burned by Hawaiians to make light, or roasted and pulverized into a seasoning for raw fish. The tree bears circular brown fruit that fall to the ground to decay, leaving behind the Kukui nut. It’s poisonous when eaten raw, and edible if eaten roasted—be forewarned that excess Kukui nut consumption leads to diarrhea”

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Oh my!!! As far as I know Curtis Stone is still among us.

I did find this though:


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I got some for some Indonesian recipes and they were pretty flavorless with a slightly unpleasant texture. I think people ate them because they were a cheap and abundant source of fats when there was nothing tastier around. I think that view is supported by them being grown in China but not as food.

Could be roasting the hell out of them gives more flavor, but the only ones I find online are already shelled. Inamona made in the traditional way might have additional flavor from real pa’akai, but you can’t buy that, either, only imitations made by adding a little clay to regular sea salt.



Maybe this brand.


Just saw an episode of Somebody Feed Phil where he visits a poke shop in Honolulu. Again they used ground roasted kukui nut in the recipe. At $2.25 an ounce I’m not likely to buy that $35.99 bag on Amazon just to try it. I may run by Kawamata soon and while I’m there I’ll ask if they ever have it.


Add extra ogo seaweed and avocado!

I was trying to remember where I saw poke seasoned with kikui nuts. I think it was Ahi Assasins on the Hawaii episode of Somebody Feed Phil.

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That’s the episode I was referring to.

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Even in poke shops in Hawai’i I’ve rarely encountered kukui nuts. I’ve made my own poke using them, but don’t find it adds anything compelling to the mix. I’ve read that lightly toasted macadamia nuts are a good substitute (and arguably much tastier). Many recipes just tell you to use sesame seeds. Indigenous food preparations with limited ingredients aren’t necessarily going to be the most delicious,

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yeah, i think it’s more of a texture thing. i’d rather have sesame seeds or macadamia nuts TBH. But good poke is fine without any nut,

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Looks like this is more of a local thing that they thought made for good TV. Thanks for all the input. Gonna go to Kawamata on Monday. Haven’t been there in a long time and it should be more than worth the 20 minute drive.

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The best deal yet!

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Also look for candle nut / “buah keras” at Indonesian specialty stores

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We stocked up on grass and kukui nut fed beef from Kauai on one of our last visits. It’s delicious, but waiver to put dry ice on the plane :airplane: was a major ordeal! Worth it.

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I was just thinking that Northshore in Huntington Beach is the most Hawaiian of all the poke places. And sure enough, when I looked it up online, they do have Kukui Nut as an add-on right there on the menu.