Food Talk
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Poké Bowls

rawImageThey’ve been called the “next generation of sushi”.  Poké bowls are the latest food trend sweeping North America.

Pronounced poh-keh, a poké bowl is typically chunks of raw, marinated fish – usually tuna – tossed over warm rice and topped with vegetables and Asian sauces. The word “poke” means to slice or cut. The idea is that a poké bowl is convenient, with bite sized pieces together in one bowl.

A great poké has contrasting textures, flavours and temperatures. There are various customized options, but the basic ingredients include:

Rice for the base: Typically jasmine rice, warmed so it is a contrast to the cold fish. For those who want low-carb options, you can replace rice with something healthier like quinoa, zucchini noodles or a kelp salad.

Fish: Sushi-grade fish is the star ingredient, most commonly raw yellowfin (ahi) tuna. But you can choose between several fish, including salmon and snapper, and variations include cooked fish or tofu.

Seasonings: The cubes of fish are mixed with scallions, sesame seeds and flakes of pink sea salt to enhance the flavour.

Dressing: Sauce choices include soy sauce, spicy black-bean paste, or a classic shoyu ponzu made of soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and fresh lemon juice.

Vegetables: Toppings add texture: avocados are a favourite along with seaweed, crispy garlic, or crispy onion.

Hot sauce: A red chili mixture called togarashi adds heat; wasabi is another option.

Where did it come from?

Poké is a Hawaiian dish traditionally made by fishermen, combining trimmings from their catch of “ahi” tuna (or octopus) with seaweed and sweet onions. Poké bowls also were eaten by Japanese migrants who worked on the Hawaiian pineapple and sugar cane plantations from 1885 onwards. Today in Hawaii, Poké is available everywhere, from gas stations to roadside stands.

Poké protocol:

  • Only the freshest fish, raw and marinated
  • Temperature is important – rice should be warm and fish cold.
  • Don’t forget crunch. Traditionally, crushed candlenuts were used but you can use macadamias, cashews, crisp pickles or even wasabi peas.
  • Much of the flavour comes from the dressing, so choose carefully.

They’re good for you!

Poké Bowls contain a high amount of protein and good fats; especially Omega 3! Calorie count can vary depending on the toppings.

Ahi poké bowl

  • Toss cubes of yellowfin tuna in a mix of soy, saké and water with finely sliced spring onion whites.
  • Sweeten warm sushi rice with sushi seasoning. For 3 cups of uncooked rice, warm ½ cup (125ml) rice wine vinegar, 2 tbs sugar and 2 tsp salt until dissolved. Add the liquid to warm, cooked rice until seasoned to your liking.
  • Top with the tuna, chopped avocado, sesame seeds, toasted nori seaweed, a few drops of sesame oil and pink pickled ginger. Add a sprinkle of good chilli flakes or perhaps wasabi peas.