lomi-lomi in a yuzu ponzu sauce recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

Lomi-lomi in a Yuzu Ponzu Sauce

With the popularity of Hawaiian poké I was inspired to explore other Hawaiian raw fish-based dishes and discovered lomi. Let me start by saying – this is my take on the Hawaiian classic, as I don’t claim this to be an authentic recipe. I am taking the basic concepts of lomi salmon, salted fish that is chopped and tossed with onion and tomato among other things, and adding my twist. But I am getting ahead of myself.

The word “lomi” translates in Hawaiian to “to knead or rub” as the salmon is salt-cured overnight then traditionally mixed by massaging the ingredients together. Lomi-lomi is served as a side dish alongside rice and pork but I also like to serve it wrapped in butter lettuce cups withwhite rice. This recipe requires a little foresight as the salmon is cured the day before the dish is assembled.

Salmon is not native to Hawaii but the demand for sushi-grade salmon has grown and become readily available on the islands. I opt to use steelhead trout in this recipe – it’s a more sustainable option than salmon and can also be eaten raw. You may notice a call for cucamelons – they are little melon looking miniatures I found at the farmer’s market that taste like a slightly more bitter cucumber. They are a fun addition, but if you can’t find any, diced cucumbers are an easy substitution. 


For the cured salmon: 

¾ cup coarse kosher salt

¼ cup granulated sugar 

1 pound steelhead trout or salmon filet, skin and any bones removed

For the yuzu ponzu sauce:

3 teaspoons yuzu koshu 

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil 

2 teaspoons ponzu 

For assembly: 

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

2 green onions, thinly sliced 

1 medium serrano, seeded and diced 

½ cup halved cucamelon (or diced cucumber)

1 medium Haas avocado, pitted, peeled and diced 

¼ cup cilantro, chopped 

2 tablespoons salmon roe, for garnish (optional)


For the cured salmon: 

In a small bowl stir together the salt and sugar. In a high-sided dish add half of the cure mixture then add the salmon filet. Pour the remaining mixture over the top, patting it into the salmon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

The next day remove the salmon from the cure and discard the salt mixture. Rinse the salmon in ice-cold water and pat dry. Cut into small, ¼” cubes and add to a medium mixing bowl.  

For the yuzu ponzu sauce:

In a small bowl whisk together the yuzu koshu, sesame oil and ponzu until combined. 

For assembly:  

In a small bowl toss the tomatoes with the grapeseed oil and salt and let sit for 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the mixing bowl with the cured salmon, green onions, serrano, cucamelon, avocado and cilantro and gently toss together. Top with salmon roe and serve. 

Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer or side.



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