Kevin has been talking about and showing me pictures of poke bowls non-stop this week. No, I don’t mean pictures of hands poking bowls, but rather delicious tuna poke rice bowls filled with other yummy toppings. Poke (pronounced either po-kei or po-kay, I’ve heard both ways so I’m not sure which is actually correct) is an easy snack that pleases even the pickiest of people. Trust me, you can’t screw this up.
Poke is a Hawaiian dish that is traditionally made with chunks of ahi tuna marinated in soy sauce, sea salt, sesame oil, limu seaweed (a Hawaiian seaweed), onions, and chili peppers. It’s generally served with crushed roasted candlenut, but since this is a nut-free house I didn’t use any nuts in my recipe. I’m not sure how popular candlenut is outside of Hawaii and being that I have never heard of it before, you could easily use macadamia nuts as a substitute.
There are a lot of other poke variations out there with octopus, crab, shrimp, and even tofu. However since tonight was sushi night I decided to use Sockeye salmon and Albacore tuna since I already had some on hand. The type of fish is really up to you. Any kind of salmon or tuna would work, just make sure it’s fresh and sushi-grade.
For the marinade I decided to add in some grated ginger, garlic, and hot chili sesame oil to the soy sauce mixture. I only used a small clove of garlic because I didn’t want it to be too garlicky. I do love garlic, but I didn’t particularly want a lingering garlic taste in my mouth especially during sushi night! If you don’t have hot chili sesame oil, you can use regular sesame oil and a sprinkle of dried red chili pepper flakes. I add hot chili sesame oil to everything, so I always keep some on hand. Once you have your marinade ready, add it to the cubed fish and let it sit in the fridge for about two hours.
In the meantime, prep all the toppings for the poke bowls. I chose to slice up some carrots, cucumbers, and daikon. I used my Japanese mandoline for the carrots and daikon. This little guy is a time saver! Just make sure not to slice off your fingers, it’s very sharp. If you don’t have a mandoline, now would be a good time to practice your knife skills .
I intended to make a seaweed salad to go along with the poke, but I couldn’t find it dried at my local Asian grocer. You’ve probably seen variations of seaweed salad on every sushi menu you’ve ever seen. How I’ve known it growing up was as chuka wakame which means Chinese seaweed in Japanese. Alternatively it is called goma wakame which means sesame seaweed, or hiyashi wakame which means chilled seaweed. It’s a really nice refreshing salad with a slight sweet flavour to accompany the sesame goodness. The seaweed salad looks like this:
However, the Asian grocer gods did not want me to make it on my own, so alas I tried the sushi counter, but there were only very sad looking pre-made containers of it on display. So, heck with it I decided to use wakame instead. If you want a recipe for the seaweed salad you can find a similar one here. Oh, and if you have some avocados lying around, definitely dice them up and throw it in the poke bowls. I wish I had some ripe ones when I made this, because avocados would be a great addition to this dish.
- ½ lb fresh Albacore (or Ahi) tuna, cut into bite-size pieces
- ½ lb fresh Sockeye (or Atlantic) salmon, cut into bite sized pieces
- ¼ C soy sauce
- 1 tsp chili sesame oil
- ¼ C green onions, chopped
- ¼ C yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 small garlic clove, grated (optional)
- ½ chili pepper, cored, seeded and diced (optional)
- 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- Coarse ground sea salt, to taste
- Thinly sliced carrots
- Thinly sliced cucumber
- Thinly sliced daikon
- Seaweed salad
- Diced Avocado
- Add all of the marinade ingredients to a large bowl.
- Add the cubed fish and mix lightly.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
- To serve, layer the bowl with a bed of rice, add the poke mixture, and any of your desired toppings.