Poke bowls originated in Hawaii. The word "poke" literally means “to cut crosswise into pieces” in Hawaiian. It is a dish that was born from simplicity—fresh catches from the ocean were chopped up and served raw, mixed with salt, and topped with seaweed. However, since poke bowls have entered the mainstream of the mainland, both their popularity and complexity have seriously expanded.
While you might be accustomed to heading to the trendiest spot in town to order a custom poke bowl, they are super simple to assemble in your own kitchen. Here are some tips on recreating your favorite poke bowl at home.
First and foremost, it’s all about the fish. Because fish is eaten raw in poke bowls it’s critical to find the best quality possible. If you are choosing tuna as your main protein, it’s best to pick steaks that have as few of white streaks as possible (these are connective tissue that will result in chewy poke). When in doubt, ask your fishmonger or butcher if what you are purchasing is suitable to eat raw. Sushi grade is ideal but can be difficult to come by in supermarket settings.
Once you’ve chosen a fish then it’s all about the rice and sides. Sushi rice is what poke bowls are typically made with but brown rice is also great. Avoid long grain and starchy rice like basmati or Arborio.
Get creative with sides. Mango and pineapple are great ways to add a bit of sweetness. Edamame, avocado, shredded carrots, cucumbers, radishes, kimchi, and seaweed have all become classic toppings. And garnish your bowl with items like toasted sesame seeds, green onions, fried garlic, pickled ginger, or give Togarashi a try—it’s a Japanese spice blend.
- 1 lb. sushi grade tuna or salmon
- 2 cups sushi rice, cooked
Poke Bowl Sauce
- ¼ cup of soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. ponzu
- 1 tbsp. lime juice
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 2 tsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
- 1 tbsp. Sambal chili paste (optional)
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp. Sriracha sauce
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp. lime juice
- 2 green onions, sliced
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Sliced avocado
- Sliced cucumber
- Diced pineapple
- Chopped cilantro
- Make the poke bowl sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, ponzu, lime juice, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, and chili paste in a large bowl. Set aside.
- To make the spicy mayonnaise, whisk together the mayonnaise, Sriracha, lime zest, and lime juice. Set aside.
- Cut fish into bite sized cubes, approximately 1 inch by 1 inch. Place the fish in the poke bowl sauce and gently toss to coat.
- To build the bowl, add about 1 cup to 1½ cup of white rice to a serving bowl first. Then place a portion of the fish on top and garnish with your choice of toppings. Top with a dollop of the spicy mayo sauce and serve immediately.