Michelle Lee test drives the traditional Hawaiian dish that's become a culinary sensation
Poke is everywhere — you can’t eat out without seeing a poke bowl or appetizer on the menu.
Pronounced PO-kay, this hot new fad is based on an old Hawaiian tradition that provides quick, satisfying, super-healthful meals. Poke is simply chilled raw fish with any of blend of seasonings and vegetables. It’s generally served over rice, but also over noodles or salad greens, and with wonton crisps as an appetizer.
A few notes for the cook
This poke bowl is a combination of four key elements: jasmine rice, a slightly spicy shoyu (soy sauce) dressing, a few fresh vegetables and raw, cubed yellowfin tuna.
If you have time to make rice, the rest of the dish can be prepared while the rice cooks, making this an incredibly quick meal, particularly given how impressive and delicious it is.
- 1/2 to 1 large jalapeño chili pepper
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 4 scallions
- 3 tablespoons natural shoyu soy sauce*
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 4 small Persian cucumbers (or 1/3 large English cucumber)
- 2 5.5-oz. steaks wild Pacific yellowfin (ahi) tuna, thawed
- 2 small ripe avocados
- Jasmine rice to serve 4 guests (or similar)
*To reduce the recipe's sodium content, simply use a low-sodium soy sauce.
- First, start your jasmine rice. In the 30 minutes it takes to cook and rest the rice, you can prepare the rest of this recipe.
- Gently toast the black sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until just fragrant, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Mince ½ to 1 large jalapeño, using some or all of the seeds depending on how spicy you prefer this dish. I used ½ large jalapeno with the seeds, which was just a bit spicy without considerable heat.
- Thinly slice the white and light green portions of the scallions. Combine the jalapeno and scallions in a large bowl, then add soy sauce, rice vinegar, fresh lemon juice, grated ginger and sesame oil. Whisk to combine.
- Thinly slice the cucumbers (I don’t peel them, as the peel is so thin) and stir into the dressing and let rest. This gives the cucumbers a lightly pickled flavor.
- Once the rice is finished, divide it equally between bowls or plates. Cut the avocados into ½-inch pieces.
- Cut the yellowfin tuna into ½-inch pieces and gently combine with the dressing. Spoon tuna, cucumber and a bit of dressing over each the bowl of rice, then top with avocado and garnish with toasted black sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
My rating: 4+ out of 4 stars