The first time I ever ate raw fish was when I was about ten or eleven years old. I was at a Japanese buffet, and my mother told me to eat only the expensive foods so we would get our money's worth, which meant seafood and sashimi. Of course, I didn’t particularly enjoy raw fish, but being the dutiful daughter, I heeded her advice.
It wasn’t until I started eating poke bowls a few years ago that I warmed up to the idea of dishes with raw fish!
What Is a Poke Bowl?
A poke bowl (pronounced po-kay!) is a Hawaiian dish of diced fresh fish served on top of rice with plenty of extra fixings like avocado, radishes, and cucumbers.
The fish is usually tuna, but salmon and other sashimi-quality fish can be used as well. The diced fish gets tossed with a simple dressing of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil, which makes a nice compliment to the whole bowl.
Make sure to buy only very high quality salmon since you'll be eating it raw. In Japanese supermarkets, fish is labeled "sashimi" when it's safe to eat raw. Otherwise, ask your fishmonger about the quality of the fish.
Assembling Your Poke Bowl
Once you have your fish, the rest of the poke bowl comes together really quickly. Just cook some rice, toss the fish with the dressing, and serve! I like to place all the extra toppings on the table so that everyone can help themselves.
Here are some great toppings you can add:
- Sliced cucumber
- Sliced radish
- Sliced or cubed avocado
- Thinly sliced scallions
- Red pepper flakes
Eat Right Away!
Poke bowls are a fresh dish, meant to be eaten right away. Prepare all the components just before serving, and don't plan on leftovers!
Making a Gluten-Free Poke Bowl
If you are looking for a gluten-free poke bowl, use tamari instead of soy sauce. Tamari has a more intense flavor, so I would use only 3 tablespoons of tamari for the sauce.
Also, because tamari has a much deeper color, the salmon pieces will not look as vibrant once they have been mixed with the dressing.
Feeling the Hawaiian Vibe? Try These Recipes
Salmon Avocado Poke Bowl
I use short-grain white rice (sometimes also called "sushi rice") in my bowls, but it's fine to use medium- or long-grain rice if that's what you have in your kitchen.
Gluten-free option: Substitute 3 tablespoons of tamari for the soy sauce. Because of the deeper color of the tamari, your salmon may not look as vibrant once mixed with the dressing.
For the poke bowl
1 cup short-grain white rice
1 pound sashimi-grade salmon
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 large avocado, cubed
Red pepper flakes
Cook the rice:
Start the rice first and prep the rest of the ingredients while it cooks. Rinse the rice a few times under cool water, rubbing it gently with your hands, until the water isn't quite so cloudy. Then cook the rice according to package instructions or in a rice cooker. Fluff and keep covered until ready to eat.
Prepare the salmon:
Gently pat the salmon all over to make sure that there are no pin bones still lodged in the fillet; if there are, use needle-nosed pliers to remove them. Cut the salmon into 1/2-inch cubes. Add the salmon into a medium bowl and set aside.
Make the dressing:
In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and garlic powder. The garlic powder and sugar will not dissolve completely, but that's fine.
Combine the salmon and the dressing:
Add the sliced scallions to the bowl with the salmon, saving 1 to 2 tablespoons for garnish. Add the soy sauce mixture to the salmon and scallions. Using a large spoon or a rubber spatula, gently mix the salmon with the soy sauce mixture.
Divide the rice between each bowl and then the salmon. Top with the rest of the sliced scallions, sliced cucumber, sliced radishes, diced avocado, furikake and red pepper flakes, if you like. The poke bowl is best enjoyed immediately.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 2 to 3|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 22g||29%|
|Saturated Fat 5g||24%|
|Total Carbohydrate 12g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||2%|
|Total Sugars 3g|
|Vitamin C 8mg||39%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|