Poke with Tropical Marinade

Poke with Tropical Marinade

Have you ever had ahi poke before? Many years ago, I was first introduced to this fish salad concept in Hawaii. Freshly caught seafood, similar to the ones found in sushi restaurants, is marinated in a soy and vinegar-based sauce, then tossed with lots of other yummy ingredients to add some heat or spice.

This island delicacy has been taking over California and the US. Trendy build-your-own poke bowl restaurants will assemble a feast right before your eyes! I love this healthy way of eating. It may look intimidating, but guess what? It’s easy to make these at home! These beautiful ahi tuna poke bowls are a satisfying lite meal that requires little to no cooking. If this sounds good to you, let’s get marinating!

Fish selection

My nearby grocery store sells fresh ahi tuna steaks that I use in this recipe. When purchasing the fish, ask the friendly person at the fish counter if the tuna is sushi-grade and safe to eat raw. If there are Asian markets nearby, they typically carry sushi-grade fish.

You can try different kinds, such as salmon, albacore, or yellowtail. If you aren’t into raw fish, try cooked shrimp or octopus with the poke bowl sauce, and it will be delicious. Using a clean chef’s knife and cutting board, cut the fish into 3/4-inch cubes.

Poke bowl with brown rice and sliced cucumbers.

Marinate the tuna

Don’t be afraid to get creative! Combine the marinade with chunks of tuna, sliced green onion, and sesame seeds. The sauce quickly infuses into the fish for a quick meal, so it can be enjoyed immediately. However, if you want to add more flavor, marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.

Top down view of two poke bowls with chopsticks and a small bowl of soy dipping sauce.

How to make a poke bowl

So what’s in those irresistible bowls? There are endless ways to customize the poke bowl ingredients. I fill the bottom with white, brown, or sticky sushi rice as the base. Plus, the cooked rice soaks up any sauce! Add fresh salad greens, creamy avocado, crunchy carrots, pickled ginger, and fresh cucumber slices. If you have time, make this pickled cucumber salad. The sweetness and acidity go so well with the poke.

On top of the raw marinated ahi, sprinkle on togarashi (Japanese seven spice). I like the extra spicy umami flavor it adds and some chopped seaweed called nori. Toasted sesame seeds and spicy mayo also add exciting textures.

Chopsticks grabbing a cube of tuna out of a poke bowl.

This poke bowl recipe is so versatile that you can use it as an appetizer with crunchy crackers, wrapped up in a giant sushi burrito, or just eat the marinated tuna straight from the bowl. Tell me what you like to add to your poke bowl. I would love to hear.

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