Like a game of Chinese whispers (aka telephone), the farther the reach of Hawaiian poke into restaurants and home kitchens across the US and the world, the further the dish deviates from its origins.
And that’s okay. Actually, it’s great!
Poke (‘poh-kay’), like so many other traditional dishes, has its origins in – “Let’s see what we have laying around here and throw it together in a bowl.”
Poke may have started with raw seafood cut into cubes and mixed with seaweed, roasted kukui (candlenut), and Hawaiian sea salt, but it has evolved now into countless variations as its popularity has exploded. It’s one of those dishes that you can play with in your kitchen to find your favorite (and maybe easiest) way to enjoy it. It simply makes cooking fun!
The standard poke served at a restaurant will generally have a combination of raw tuna (ahi), green onion, and maybe some seaweed and avocado slices. Then garnished with sesame seeds, and dressed with a soy-sesame sauce. This can be served as an appetizer, or as a full meal on top of sushi rice (poke bowl).
At home, I find it easier to whip up a vegetarian poke bowl with ingredients I have ready in the kitchen – but if you want to make Ahi Poke, you can find diced yellowfin tuna at FishForSushi.com.
Today I’m sharing our favorite Vegetarian Poke Bowl which makes a delicious & healthy addition to the weekly meal planner. Just use this recipe as a starting guide, then change it up to your preference and for the ingredients you have available.
Here are a few ideas:
Tofu and edamame make it a meal and provide an excellent source of protein, calcium, and iron. Avocado helps balance the flavors in the dish and it is a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. Add some crunch with slices of cucumber and radish, and top it with spicy greens like arugula or radish sprouts. For the dressing, make a simple soy sauce and toasted sesame oil mix, or see my recipe for a homemade ponzu dressing that gives the bowl a refreshingly citrus flavor.
Finally, garnish it with chopped scallion and sprinkle on Japanese seasonings such as Furikake & Shichimi Togarashi. And if you have some macadamia nuts, you can certainly throw those in too.
Now it’s your turn to add your personal variation of poke to the mix. When you do, take a picture and let us know on Instagram. Can’t wait to see what you create!
Vegetarian Poke Bowl
by Season with Spice
2 servings of cooked brown rice, or sushi rice
2/3 block firm tofu – drain well & cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup edamame – cooked
1/2 cucumber – halved & sliced
1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and sliced/ cubed
A handful of arugula or mizuna leaves (or microgreens)
1 scallion – sliced
Dashes of Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese Seven Spice)
Dashes of Furikake (Japanese Seaweed Seasoning)
Homemade Ponzu Dressing:
2.5 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp yuzu juice, or a combination of lemon & lime juice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp mirin
1/4 tsp finely grated fresh ginger (optional)
2 tsp honey
2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
1. Prepare the rice and all the rest of the ingredients.
2. In a small bowl, combine the sauce and whisk well. Have a taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
3. To assemble, first place the rice into your serving bowls. Arrange the remaining ingredients on top. Garnish with scallions, Shichimi Togarashi and Furikake. When ready to eat, pour the sauce in, and toss to mix well. Enjoy!