As a lover and seeker of umami, I’ve been delighted by the rise in popularity of the poke bowl. Poke originates in Hawaii and means, essentially, cut fresh fish. I won’t pretend to have any real connection to poke’s origin — Cope and I went to Maui on our honeymoon 15 years ago, and that’s all I’ve got. But this ahi tuna and spicy salmon poke bowl with brown rice makes a relatively healthy, quick and delicious meal, and for better or worse, I’m psyched about that.
I buy the same kind of fish for poke bowls that I’d buy to make sushi at home (which happens approximately never, but poke bowls are so much easier to toss together, so ta-da). For me, sometimes that means dipping into the deep freezer at Whole Foods and buying small portions of medium-obscenely expensive sashimi-quality yellowfin tuna and salmon. There’s no such thing as sashimi-quality or sushi-grade as far as any official agency is concerned, but this fish is flash-frozen and kept at a deep freeze to ensure no parasites survive. There are lots of ways to buy good fish, though. Just employ the fishmonger version of one of my top farmers’ market tips: buy from someone you trust and ask questions. With that approach, you shouldn’t have trouble finding what you need.
As for the rice: I’m not at all sure that seasoned vinegar belongs anywhere near traditional poke, but I like the way it both flavors the rice and cuts through the fattiness of the fish, so I go for it. I like to use short-grain brown rice, but if you’re in a hurry or just have other preferences, you can use white sushi rice or even quinoa.
Have fun with toppings, too. I’m all about the pre-made seaweed salad, avocado and sesame everything, but you can incorporate anything from mango to radish to nothing at all, as you like. So says Umami Girl. Hawaiians, thank you for your patience.
Enjoy the weekend. See you soon.
Ahi Tuna and Spicy Salmon Poke Bowl
You can tell poke bowls are of Hawaiian origin, because they make something incredibly fabulous seem very chill, like it's no big deal. You can be very flexible with the ingredients, adding or subtracting to suit your mood and the contents of your fridge. To make this meal in under 30 minutes, you can substitute white sushi rice or quinoa for the brown rice.
- 1 1/2 cups raw short grain brown rice
- 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 pound sushi-grade yellowfin tuna
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallion (white and green parts)
- 1 teaspoon very thinly sliced shallot
- 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium tamari
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Pinch of chili flakes
- 1/2 pound sushi-grade salmon
- 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
- Sriracha to taste -- start with 1/4 teaspoon
- 1/4 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari
- 1 teaspoon finely minced shallot
- 1 tablespoon sliced scallions
- Sliced avocado
- Prepared seaweed salad
- Fish roe
- Shelled edamame
- Toasted nori
- Furikake or gomasio
- Toasted sesame oil (with or without chili)
To make the rice, place the rice and 3 cups water into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes, until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Let rice rest, covered, for 10 minutes, then stir in vinegar.
To make the tuna poke, cut tuna into bite-sized cubes. I like them on the smaller side -- maybe 1/2-inch dice -- but it's totally up to you. Place cubes in a small mixing bowl and add scallion, shallot, tamari, sesame oil and chili flakes. Toss gently and set aside.
To make the salmon poke, cut salmon into cubes to match the size of the tuna and place in a small mixing bowl. In another small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, sriracha and tamari. Spoon sauce over salmon and toss gently to coat. Stir in shallot and scallion and set aside.
To assemble the bowls, place some rice in the bottom of each serving bowl. Arrange portions of tuna, salmon, and whatever additional ingredients you like. Pictured here are avocado, seaweed salad that I bought already prepared, some simple shelled edamame, a little bit of salmon roe, and a nice sprinkle of gomasio, freshly ground black pepper, and chili toasted sesame oil.