I went to Hawaii on my honeymoon 30 years ago.
It was beautiful…the water, the sun, the people, the food!
But I don’t remember seeing poke bowls anywhere.
I’m pretty sure I saw poke, but no bowls.
Maybe I was too in love to notice.
Poke is a dish traditionally made with fresh raw fish and toppings like onions and seaweed, has been popular in Hawaii for decades. “Poke,” pronounced POH-KAY, means “to cut crosswise into pieces” in Hawaiian.
Based on my research, poke has been around for some time (it looks like it was born in the 70’s) but the poke bowl was born somewhere around 2010.
So it wasn’t love after all…I mean it wasn’t love that made me not notice.
But I was in love…because it would be weird to not be in love on your honeymoon, right?
So what, exactly is Poke?
While poke is delicious by itself, the ever-popular poke bowl usually includes white rice (which I will sub with sticky rice or brown rice). In Hawaii, it’s often served with a generous sprinkling of furikake—a Japanese seasoning that consists of dried and ground fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar and salt. I didn’t add this but yo ucan if you like. You do you!
Poke is usually served raw, but it can also be marinated or fried (see below for a twist on raw tuna).
How Do you Serve a Poke Bowl
When the bowl is put together, it is usually served with super cold tuna or fish and warm rice – sushi, brown rice or black. The contrast of warm and cold make it a great meal! Note, if you are making sushi rice, make sure you look at a few sites on how to cook it (it is labelled glutenous rice for a reason…if you cook it wrong, it will become a sticky mess…I speak from experience!!)
Where Should You Buy Your Fish?
Remember that you will be eating the fish raw so make sure you buy the freshest fish possible!
- Look for one that sells in high volume, gets in regular shipments, and has a knowledgeable staff.
- Always talk to the vendors before buying the fish to make sure it’s safe for raw consumption.
- The fish should smell fresh like the ocean, never fishy. The color should be vibrant.
It’s best to eat raw fresh poke the day you make it, but it will keep in the fridge up to two days.
Also, make sure your knife is super sharp when cutting your tuna!
The Twist on the Tuna!
I know some people are “sketched out” by eating raw fish (if you’re one of them, you gotta just try it…it’s delicious!!). But, if you’re serving this to anyone that you can’t convert, just rub the tuna with some sesame oil and sear it on all side in a hot skillet. Once it’s browned on the outside, cool it off and cut it into cubes and continue with the marinade. But, word of warning…it will still need to be rare on the inside (NEVER cook tuna all the way through) but the sear on the outside might get a skeptic to buy in!
The Spicy Crema
This is so simple, just thick yogurt and sriracha. You can use mayo or sour cream if you like. I will sometimes make a batch and keep it refrigerated in a squeeze bottle to make it easy to drizzle over my poke bowl or even on a sandwich. You can also use this sandwich bag hack if you have no squeeze bottle…put the yogurt and sriracha in a sandwich bag, smoosh it all around to get the mixture incorporated and then snip a tiny piece of the bag off on the lower corner … you can use the bag like a piping bag and drizzle it on from there!!
What About the Veggies?
There are no rules about what vegetables to use! I’ve kept it pretty simple but you can add in any crunchy veggies like radish or other fresh vegetables of choice! When you are julienning the carrots, make sure your knife is sharp – you can also use either a mandolin or a vegetable peeler like this!
So, there you have it. A poke bowl or “easy fresh/healthy meal” as I like to call it!
Its January and maybe you made a promise to yourself to eat healthier this month.
Pin this (below) for later…when you’re eating pizza and wished you made this instead!
The Freshest Tuna Poke Bowl
- 1 pound sushi grade tuna cut into ¾ inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sriracha or chili paste
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
For the Bowl:
- 2 cups cooked sushi rice (you can sub in cooked brown rice if you like)
- 1 cups red cabbage finely sliced
- 2 large carrots julienned
- 2 avocados sliced
- 1 cup frozen edamame beans defrosted
- Sesame seeds for garnish
- Green onion for garnish
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (you can sub in mayonnaise)
- 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
- In a medium-sized bowl combine soy sauce, vinegar, sriracha, sesame oil and honey. Add diced tuna, cover and refrigerate.
- Assemble the bowl by adding a scoop of warm rice to the bottom of each bowl, a small handful of cabbage, some julienned carrots, a few edamame, half a sliced avocado and a scoop of the tuna. Drizzle the remaining sauce over each bowl.
- Mix together the yogurt and sriracha and set aside. Garnish bowls with sliced green onion, sesame seeds and asquirt of spicy crema