Hawaiian Poke craze is making big waves
Nation’s Restaurant News declares “Poke Sweeps the Nation.”
USA Today calls poke bowls “the new sushi.”
Business Insider predicts poke is “the next big thing in fast food.”
Poke is the Hawaiian roadside snack that has morphed into an explosion recipes, books & local restaurants.
How Do You Say Poke ?
It’s a culinary conundrum that few at first can pronounce.
However it is very easy. POH-keh. Rhymes with OK.
Poke means “to cut into pieces“ in Hawaiian.
Poké is fundamentally a Hawaiian chopped seafood salad - using the freshest of fish, cubed and blended with a myriad of yummy flavours and textures.
Poke Bowl - Biggest Food Trend This Year
It looks fantastic.
It tastes wonderful.
It can be adapted to whatever suits your mood and tastes.
And the best part – it’s super easy.
The only thing that requires cooking is the rice (and you can even cheat with that).
Everything else just gets popped on top.
Traditional Tuna Poke Bowl
Poke bowls are so common in Hawaii that you can buy poke in gas stations.
The Hawaiian Poke dish is heavily influenced by Japanese and other Asian cultures.
Basically Poke is raw fish with an Asian style sauce marinade, like soy sauce and sesame oil.
If you want to re-create a very traditional Hawaiian Poke, you can use ingredients that relate back to these influences : like black rice, seaweed, or garnish with young green shiso if you can find it.
Super Healthy Poke
Poke is fresh, clean and nutritionally healthy.
Protein-packed Poke recipes are especially popular with health-conscious consumers.
Being predominantly a seafood salad with fresh ingredients, Poke has the added benefit of providing omega-3s, which most Americans don’t eat enough. (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
Making Hawaiian Poke
Poke is basically made with fresh chunks of raw fish, doused in a soy and sesame dressing, and mixed with veggies, herbs and spices, served on a bed of rice.
Poke is extremely simple to make - think of it like tossing a salad and using very few ingredients.
Easy Poke to Try at Home
Dont forget to pass around any remaining dressing and perhaps some additional sriracha on the side for those who like a bit of heat.
For a really simple, super-delicious poke recipe - see here.
1. Choosing a Base
If you're going for the classic, you can't beat Poke served over a bowl of white rice.
Japanese sushi rice is ideally suited to Poke, but you can also use brown rice, wild rice, red rice or even a combination of different rice to add another layer of texture.
The rice should be served at room temperature.
We suggest a ratio of about 60/40 rice to fish so you have a bite of fish with every spoonful of Poke.
2. What Fresh Fish to Use
This is by far the most important ingredient.
When you are eating raw seafood it’s important to ask for No. 1 sashimi-grade fish, sometimes referred to as “sushi grade.”
The fresher, the better.
Ahi tuna, or yellowfin tuna, is the most common choice used in the Hawaiian islands, but bluefin tuna, commonly found on the East Coast, is also a great option.
AHI tuna, yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna,
There isn’t one “right” way to make poke - so if you don't like raw fish use cooked fish.
And if you aren't into seafood at all, a bed of chopped romaine lettuce, cold vermicelli noodles or tofu are perfectly fine ways to enjoy poke.
3. How to Slice Fish for Poke
Unlike sashimi, where the fish is sliced thin and long, tuna poké is cut into thick cubes so it can be mixed into a free-form salad.
If you have a large piece of fresh fish, cut into filets and from there dice into cubes.
It is best to cut “with the grain, not against it,” to avoid perforated edges.
4. Poke Marinade
Poke is a delicately flavored fish salad, and should be dressed simply.
And you need just enough dressing to coat the tuna cubes.
A dressing can be as simple as two tablespoons of soy sauce and one teaspoon of sesame oil with a pinch of brown sugar and a squeeze of lemon whisked together.
Dark soy or kechap manis can also be used.
Ponzu, shoyu, gochujang, and spicy black bean paste are also great bases to work with.
Swirl of wasabi mayo - half cup of Kewpie Mayonnaise mixed with teaspoon of siracha and/or wasabi powder.
5. Ideas for Poke Garnish
Now for the fun stuff.
There are endless variations of condiment combinations that can be used.
To help your imagination, here are some suggestions to achieve textural contrast, depth, and balance.
- Basics Garnish: sliced brown onion, chopped green onion, slices of avocado, lightly drizzled soy sauce, roe, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and sesame seeds.
- Fresh Fruits & Veg: Sliced avocado, bean sprouts, cucumber, shredded carrot, shaved radish, shiitake mushrooms.
- Nuts, Seeds & Spices: Macadamia nuts, skin-on roasted peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, shichimi togarashi, or gochugaru.
- Dose of Heat: Crushed wasabi peas, grated Serrano chiles, red Fresno chiles (thinly sliced), or Jalapeños (thinly sliced).Sprinkle of crushed wasabi peas.
- Sweet & Sour: Scallions (thinly sliced), sweet onion (finely chopped), red onions, garlic chips, pickled ginger, pickled cucumber.
- Create a rainbow-coloured poke bowl: additions like avocado, coriander, fresh chopped chilli, red cabbage, carrot, brown rice, pickled ginger and a soy ginger dressing.
- For Spicy Poke: simply blend chili peppers with Hawaiian sea salt and a light drizzle of olive oil until it turns into a paste; mix in with mayonnaise and unagi (eel) sauce to taste.
How to Assemble your Poke
You can put your poke together in about five minutes.
And this is about approximately four and a half minutes longer than it takes to devour this delicate little starter.
Put the freshly cut cubes of fish marinated with dressing into a large bowl, sprinkle with Hawaiian Sea Salt.
Divide rice and tuna mixture among bowls, then go topping crazy.
We like thinly sliced scallion greens, diced avocado, sesame seeds, and a spoonful of tobiko.
Make Your Poke Bowl Look Awesome
Contrast and color is an important part of a beautifully crafted poke bowl.
Your garnish will add to this, so be imaginative - ingredients like shredded carrot can brighten up the dish.
You don't want to serve your Poke dish looking flat.
The secret Poke "look' is to give your dish some height.
Height allows you to build texture and flavor with layers.
Form a mound of poke over the rice so that it has a point at the top, like a pyramid.
Wait until just before serving to assemble your Poke.
And then let your Poke rest for a few minutes.
It'll taste much brighter and have more diverse textures than poke that's been marinating in the fridge for too long.
Pour the seasoned poke over the rice, creating a mound.
Add final touches and garnishing.
Sprinkle the bowl with furikake seasoning.
Voilà! Enjoy immediately, while rice is hot and poke is cold.
Enjoy Eating Poke
The Hawaiian classic is casual.
So fresh. So clean.
This is the kind of food you eat somewhere on the beach listening to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore.
So ride the current wave of bright, colorful tuna Poke.
Recommended Poke Cookbook
From classic Shoyu Ahi to creative Uni, Lychee, and Coconut to vegetarian Mango and Jicama, this book covers it all.
Delicious, simple, and endlessly customizable.
Now you can bring these flavors into your own kitchen with 45 recipes for traditional poke, modern riffs, bases, bowls, and other local-style accompaniments.