Have you discovered poke yet? And I’m not talking about jabbing your finger into someone’s arm. I’m talking poke bowls, and in this specific example, salmon poke bowls!
Pronounced “POH-kay”, these bowls of rice (or salad) topped with a myriad of tasty toppings are the latest greatest thing. This dish originates from the Land of Aloha, where “poke” means “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian. In these bowls, the poke is the cut-up fish, and many of the toppings reflect Hawaii’s Asian/Japanese heritage.
There are poke bowl restaurants popping up everywhere, offering a healthy meal-on-the-go option. We only just tried a poke bowl restaurant for the first time this summer and it was great! However, why pay someone else to make these for you when you can make it right in your own kitchen?
Let’s cover the basics first. A poke bowl contains some core elements:
Base: This can be brown rice, sushi rice, noodles, salad, or a combination.
Protein: usually fish, like sushi-grade raw salmon or tuna, cooked shrimp, tofu, or mushrooms.
Sauce: usually mixed with the protein before laying it on the base, the most basic flavor being shoyu
Veggies: the options are vast here with onions, edamame beans, cucumbers, peppers, etc.
“Fun” Stuff: these are the extras like avocado, pickled ginger, tobiko, wakame (seaweed), crab meat, etc.
Optional Extras: think of sesame seeds, green onions, and furikake seasoning, like the finishing touch to your bowl.
I have seen some places make up their poke bowls with pineapple and mango. While I’m sure that follows more along the Hawaiian way of eating it, I actually prefer to stick to the Japanese style, leaving the fruit out. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t include pineapple if you fancy it! You can customize your bowl however you’d like! The cool thing is that no matter how you top it, it will look like it came from a restaurant!
For us, when I make salmon poke bowls at home, each of our bowls is different, except for the rice base and salmon. My youngest likes extra salmon, some tobiko, and chopped up pollock (fake crab). As for my oldest son and his favorite extras, he likes a lot of tobiko, crab, edamame, and dried seaweed. My husband likes avocado, pickled ginger, wakame (seaweed salad), and dried seaweed.
Me? I like just about all of it! To go with my poke salmon, I’ll include avocado, wakame, pickled ginger, tobiko, edamame, and dried seaweed.
As for the sauce, I whisk together a simple soy-sesame concoction that adds just enough flavor to pull all the ingredients together. I top every bowl with some chopped green onions and sesame seeds and salmon poke bowls are ready!
My boys love salmon poke bowls so much, they can’t even wait for us all to be present at the table before digging in!
How about you? What would your favorite toppings be to go in your poke bowls? Try making these at home and tell me your favorite combinations in the comments below!
- 4 cups cooked rice (you can also use lettuce instead or do half-half)
- 3/4 lb. (340g) sashimi-grade salmon (or tuna, tofu, mushrooms, etc.)
- 4 tbs soy sauce (tamari or liquid aminos for GF)
- 4 tsp rice vinegar
- 4 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp chili oil (optional)
- Wakame (seaweed salad)
- Pickled ginger
- Shelled edamame beans
- Fresh tobiko (fish eggs)
- Chopped avocado
- Finely chopped pollock
- Green onions
- Finely chopped bell peppers
- Dried seaweed
- Thinly sliced egg omelette
- Furikake seasoning
Divide rice among 4 bowls.
Mix salmon with dressing. Divide among the 4 bowls.
Top with your favorite toppings. Garnish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and chopped green onion.
Mix and eat!!