Delicious & Easy

Cali-Baja Poke

Each evening aboard the Excel sportfishing vessel, weatherworn fishermen exhausted from hours of reeling in tuna, report to the galley for family-style dinners featuring the daily catch. If desired, diners can choose to amplify the dish’s flavor with a few dollops of Eye of RA hot sauce, Chef Adriel Montes’ concoction of Sichuan peppercorns, habanero, garlic, shallot, and charred red Fresno chiles.

One of the best ways to enjoy San Diego's hottest sauce is in his recipe for this Cali-Baja Poke.

A Chef at Sea and His Mouth-Numbing Hot Sauce.

Read the full story here.

Recipe crafted by Chef Adriel Montes, written by Chef Ryan Rizzuto

Ingredients for

Cali-Baja Poke

2 cups sushi or Calrose rice

4 cups water

⅓ cup seasoned rice vinegar

5 limes, juiced

1 tablespoon white soy sauce

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ shallot, thinly sliced

2 teaspoon Eye of RA’s SUN Hot Sauce

½ pound Bluefin Tuna

½ pound Yellowtail 

¾ cup roasted red bell pepper, medium dice

1 avocado, medium dice

1 mango, medium dice

18–20 cilantro leaves, whole 

¼ red Fresno chile, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn, freshly ground with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder

¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper


Instructions for

Cali-Baja Poke

Make the Rice: Rinse the rice until the water runs clear to remove any excess starch. Add water and cook in a rice cooker or on the stovetop until rice is tender and all the water is absorbed. 

Once the rice is cooked, spread it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle rice with seasoned rice vinegar and fluff with a rubber spatula. Allow to cool.

Make the Dressing: In a medium bowl whisk together lime juice, white soy sauce, sugar, garlic, shallot, and Eye of RA’s SUN hot sauce.

Prep the Fish: Remove each tuna from its skin and cut into 1-inch cubes. *Reserve the skin.

Add tuna into the prepared lime dressing and marinate for 2 minutes at room temperature or up to 4 hours in the refrigerator for a full cook.

To Serve: Plate a scoop of rice in the bottom of a bowl and top with 8 to 10 cubes of marinated fish. Add bell pepper, avocado, mango, a few cilantro leaves, and Fresno chile. Repeat for remaining servings. Garnish each bowl with a pinch of Sichuan peppercorn, a pinch of Aleppo pepper, and a few dollops more of Eye of RA hot sauce. Best enjoyed with a Mexican or Japanese lager!

Frequently asked

Questions About This Recipe

What are we saving the fish skin for?

*Chef Adriel’s “zero-waste” pro tip: Scrape excess tuna from the skin and either add to marinade or mix with a few dollops of Eye of Ra hot sauce and mayo and serve with rice to enjoy as spicy tuna.

To make fish skin chicharrones, remove any scales from the skin and boil the skin in water for 15 minutes. Pat the skin dry with a paper towel and fry until crispy in 350° neutral oil (canola). Add salt and add your favorite seasonings to taste.


Notes & Thoughts

Read about Adriel Montes' experiences as a chef cooking on a San Diego sportfishing vessel and the secret ingredient that sets this hot sauce apart.

A Chef at Sea and His Mouth-Numbing Hot

Montes grinding spices with a mortar and pestle.

This recipe originally published exclusively for Edible San Diego Weekly readers on May 18, 2022. Become a member today.

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