What to Put in a Poke Bowl

By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: October 5, 2017
What to Put in a Poke Bowl

Basically, a poke bowl is a traditional Hawaiian fish salad that serves as a favorite roadside snack that is served in bowls. Poke means ‘cut’ in Hawaiian language, and it traditionally consists of cheaper parts of firm fishes, like the tail or head, cut into cubes. But over time, people have experimented with the poke bowl and they have made several variations of the dish. Whether you want a snack with your glass of beer, or you want a food to accompany rice, you can mix the ingredients and have fun. Considering the increasing popularity of Hawaiian food, particularly poke bowls across the globe, this oneHOWTO article is going to tell you what to put in a poke bowl.

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Which fish to choose

Fish is one of the major ingredients of a poke bowl. The fish should be fresh, probably an ahi tuna, yellow fin tuna, or a blue fin tuna (at oneHOWTO we do not recommend the latter due to its endangerment). The fish you choose should have very light smell, which is why it is important to choose a fresh fish only. The color should be bright red and the texture should be firm to touch. If you have decided to buy a whole fish, you need to ensure that its flesh is elastic, its eyeballs are clear and crisp, its gills should be bright red, and it should bounce back when you push a finger into it. You can choose any fish that is fatty, and avoid using a frozen or farm raised fish. While most poke bowls are made of raw fish, you are free to experiment with cooked or smoked fish as well.

Deciding a base

As far as the base of your poke bowl is concerned, you can choose anything from a vegetable to a grain. White rice, brown rice, quinoa, faro or soba noodles are the more filling options, while you can also go for zucchini noodles or mixed vegetables. If you are looking to make a light snack instead of a complete meal, you can serve your poke on tortilla chips too. If you are choosing rice, it should be high quality, seasoned with seaweed or kombu and rice vinegar. This kind of base will be successful in counterbalancing your raw poke’s fishy taste. A nice poke bowl can be made with short grains Japanese sushi rice, but you may also go for regular white rice. Swap it with brown rice if you are looking for a healthier base.

However, if you are looking to make the authentic Hawaiian Poke Bowl, then use just one scoop of brown rice with soy sauce.

What to Put in a Poke Bowl - Deciding a base

Choose more ingredients to accompany

If you want to add more texture and flavor to your poke bowl, you need to add some extra ingredients of your choice into it. You can choose your favorite ingredients, and add them in any quantity that you like, including the following:

  • Ginger
  • Avocado
  • Sweet onion
  • Furikake
  • Hijiki
  • Dried seaweed
  • Edamame beans (recommended for authentic Hawaiian Poke Bowl)
  • etc.

Apart from these, you can also go for chopped green onions, brown onion slices, soy sauce, cherry tomatoes, sesame seeds, roe and others.

The best way to serve them is by letting them marinate with chili peppers, Hawaiian sea salt, olive oil or unagi sauce. You may find some places will add spicy mayonnaise to a Poke Bowl and, though the choice is yours to make, it's not recommended due to the high amount of calories and the fact that it is not an original ingredient.

What to Put in a Poke Bowl - Choose more ingredients to accompany

Go for toppings

Adding an array of your favorite toppings will give some extra flavor and crunch to your poke bowl. You can go for anything from ogonori and limu to crab or tobiko for an added fish kick. Roasted kukui nuts are frequently added in traditional Hawaiian poke bowls. If you are not able to find them in your place, you can replace them almond slices or toasted cashews. You can add a nutty flavor by adding toasted sesame seeds to your creation. Take a look at this tuna with avocado and peanut poke bowl if you want to add extra crunchiness.

Finally, the sauce

You can give a final touch to your poke bowl by adding a sauce to it. Great options would be ginger paste, fish sauce, mirin or soy sauce. You can give a nice touch to it with just a lime squeeze into it. If you want it spicy, add some sriracha, but if you are looking for something creamy, pour in some wasabi aioli. Whichever sauce you choose, it should be just enough to coat your fish lightly. It should not be too much to hide the flavors of your poke bowl ingredients.

What to Put in a Poke Bowl - Finally, the sauce

If you want to read similar articles to What to Put in a Poke Bowl, we recommend you visit our Recipes category.

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