Last week I posted a photo of my experimental Poke Tuna Bowl dinner on Instagram and Facebook and got a reaction I did not expect.
Instead of people saying “Ewwww, raw fish,” I got “How did you do that?” and words like “scrumptious” and “awesome.”
Well, of course I think so, but I already love sushi.
For those of you new to this, Poke Tuna (pronounced Po-keh, two syllables, not like poke with a stick) is originally from Hawaii. In Hawaiian, poke is a verb and means ‘to cut or chop into pieces’. Often served as a marinated salad, here it is incorporated into the ever popular rice bowl.
Traditional Poke Tuna usually has just a simple sesame marinade on it. However, I figured we should spice things up with a bit of Sriracha Mayo.
What you put in the bowl with the poke is up to you!
Here’s what you need:
Ahi Tuna (Sushi Grade Tuna), Cooked Rice (not pictured), Cucumber, Avocado, Carrots, Lettuce, Green Onion, Tamari (GF) or Soy Sauce, Sriracha Mayonnaise, Sesame Oil, Pickled Ginger, and Sesame Seeds.
Plan ahead! What I’m not showing you is the rice, happily cooking about 20 minutes before I started making my Poke Tuna Bowl. Any kind of rice will do…white, brown, sushi, etc. If you want to make life really easy make your rice ahead (even days ahead) or stop by your favorite Chinese restaurant and buy a container of rice to go.
The most important ingredient in Poke Tuna is the tuna. Since we’re eating this raw, you want only the best and freshest. Unless you live in Hawaii or California, that often means flash frozen tuna fillets.
I found these individually wrapped, 4 oz. tuna fillets at Sam’s Club. (I’m searching for some other place that sells them because I do not want to join Sam’s Club as I already have a Costco addiction. But if I have to, for tuna this good I will fork over my money and join.)
These thaw very quickly in the fridge. The bonus to using frozen fillets is that you can make this dish in a flash if you have tuna stashed in your freezer.
The big rule for sushi fish (or any fish, really) is that is should NOT smell overly fishy. If your fish is stinky, it’s probably not fresh. This tuna, even raw, had almost no odor.
We want the tuna chopped into fairly small pieces. Depending on the thickness of your fillets, this might mean cutting them in half horizontally.
Then cut them into strips and into small dice. Tuna is odd that, unlike meat, it is often easiest to cut WITH the grain. If your fish starts falling apart, give it a quarter turn and try cutting the other direction.
Place your diced tuna in a medium bowl with 1-2 thinly sliced green onions.
Season the tuna with ½ teaspoon sesame oil, 2 Tablespoons of Sriracha Mayonnaise, and 1 Tablespoon of Tamari or Soy Sauce.
That’s a pretty light dressing on the tuna and medium heat. You can certainly adjust the amount of Sriracha you add to make it more or less spicy. Sesame oil is very strong so if you’d like your Poke Tuna with more dressing on it, I’d add plain vegetable oil or light olive oil.
You could also add a squeeze of lime juice. (I usually do.)
Speaking of Sriracha, I just found Sriracha Mayo already combined in the Asian food store. You can always make your own by just combining the obvious…Sriracha Sauce and mayonnaise in a little bowl. I’ve even made my own in a Reusable Squeeze Bottle – which is also good for fancy chocolate drizzling on desserts.
Gently stir to incorporate the dressing and the tuna, top with some sesame seeds, and chill in the fridge while you make the rest of the bowl.
As I mentioned before, the veggies that go in the Poke Tuna Bowl are totally up to you.
For something green and crisp, I like some chopped lettuce or spinach. Here I have 2 big leaves of romaine chopped into strips.
I also usually cheat and have pre-cut matchstick carrots from the store that I add for crunch and color. Here, I used my vegetable peeler to make super thin carrot strips. You could also grate the carrot or leave the carrot out all together.
Essential to any Poke Tuna Bowl coming my way is peeled, chopped cucumber and creamy, ripe avocado.
Be sure to cut the avocado last, when everything else is ready to go or it will turn brown.
Then it’s as easy as putting everything together in the bowl.
I have ½-¾ cup of brown rice (per bowl) that I’ve seasoned with a little extra soy sauce. If you have rice vinegar or the sushi vinegar, you can drizzle some of that on the rice as well for more flavor.
Make little mounds of carrot, lettuce, avocado, and cucumber then add a big scoop of your Poke Tuna.
Dress it up with a little bit of pickled ginger and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
I could eat this every day and be extremely happy.
The joy of making this at home is you can make it your own with anything in the bowl that you like. You’d never get this much tuna in a restaurant and making it at home costs a lot less.
Aloha, Poke Tuna Bowl!
Here’s the recipe: