It’s January and the cold weather in Toronto has me dreaming of trips to warmer climates and some delicious vacation food! One dish I tried during our first trip to Hawaii was Poke (raw seasoned fish/seafood), and we couldn’t get enough of it there.
While in Oahu, we ate Poke at restaurants, food trucks, and also purchased by the weight at grocery stores’ “Poke Counters” (similar to a refrigerated Deli Counter, and where you can also buy the prepared rice to make a bowl). We had a few favourites, but everywhere it was always fresh and delicious, and the variety of fish/seafood and seasonings was awesome!
Back in Toronto, I tried a few of the Poke places that seemed to be popping up all over the city for a little while, but none of them was as satisfying as the real deal in Hawaii. Maybe there are no palm trees around or Waikiki is just too far away, but as the craving hit, I decided to make Poke at home to be able to have our favourite combination of fish, marinade and toppings.
Poke differs from ceviche because there is no citrus in the marinade to “cook” the fish, and the flavour profile is closer to sushi. Salmon and ahi tuna are our preferred choices for this dish and commonly available at fish markets. I’ve also seen other types of fish, cooked shrimp, crab, octopus, and other shellfish used, and even some vegetarian options, so there’s something for everyone.
I believe that having a self-service Poke Bar (rice, different fish/seafood, and toppings) would be a great option for an informal party or Hawaiian luau. Just add some fresh/tropical appetizers and desserts and have a super Aloha party! 😉
When buying fish for Poke, it’s important to confirm if it is safe to be consumed raw (also known as “sushi or sashimi grade”). Here are my two easy homemade ideas to enjoy a taste of Hawaii at home.
Easy Poke Bowls
3-4 servings (per fish choice)
- Cooked sushi rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice (for low-carb option), or other rice of your choice
- Topping options: thinly sliced green onions, diced avocado, furikake seasoning, sliced or diced cucumbers, taro chips, steamed edamame, etc.
- 1 lb sushi grade Salmon fillet (bones and skin removed)
- 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp sriracha hot sauce (or more to taste)
- 1 Tbsp tobiko fish roe (optional)
- Sea salt to taste
- 1 lb sushi grade Ahi Tuna fillet (bones and skin removed)
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari (gluten-free)
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp toasted or black sesame seeds
- Sea salt to taste
- Cut fish into small (1/2 to 3/4 inch) pieces and mix well with marinade ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 30 mins or longer.
- Place cooked warm (not hot) rice into bowls and add marinated fish on top.
- Add toppings of your choice and enjoy!