With as much as I love, crave and obsess over raw fish (most often in the form of sushi) combined with the amount of time that I spend exploring in the kitchen, it’s remarkable to note that I had never thought about recreating the tuna poke that I frequently order when eating out. For those who are unfamiliar, poke is a raw fish salad of Hawaiian origin. Any fish, but commonly ahi (yellowfin) tuna, is cubed and combined with a dressing which is often Asian-influenced–think soy, ginger, sesame oil.
The tuna poke that I chose as my inaugural recipe came from my new favorite cookbook, Bowl + Spoon by Sara Forte of the blog The Sprouted Kitchen. As suggested, I served the refreshing mixture of cubed sushi-grade tuna over sticky rice. I added a sprinkle of furikake and a side of miso-dressed, thinly sliced cucumbers and red onions. The dinner was nothing short of heaven in a bowl.
The quality of the fish is of upmost importance when serving it raw, so buy your fish uber fresh and from a reputable fishmonger. If using tuna, it will often be labeled “Sushi-Grade” but it’s worth a conversation to understand when the fish came in and would they recommend eating it raw. You will pay for this quality ingredient but safety and taste are worth every penny. Bottom line, this recipe can be viewed as a splurge and don’t attempt it if you are not comfortable with paying for what you need.
For those that live in the Washington, DC metro area, I buy my fish at Potomac Grocer in Potomac Village. Full disclosure, I am a food consultant to Potomac Grocer but my association actually makes me more confident of the quality of the fish that you get there. Ask for Max and rest assured that you will get honest answers to all of your questions.
Back to the recipe from Sara Forte’s book, which by the way contains only recipes that can be eaten from a bowl–my hands down favorite way to eat. The Tuna Poke Bowls can be prepared very quickly, with minimal effort. If you do want to prep the marinade in advance, ideally while your rice is percolating in your rice cooker (if haven’t gotten a rice cooker yet, what are you waiting for?) feel free. Just keep it separate from your tuna up until an hour before serving so that the fish doesn’t begin to “cook” in the acidic marinade.
I think that this is all the intro you should need. Get ready to fall in love. As a matter of fact, as I type this post my mind is wandering…what night this week should I serve this dish again…
- 1 1/2 cups short-grain brown or white rice
- 1 1/2 lbs sushi-grade ahi tuna
- 3 Tbls low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tbls rice wine vinegar
- wasabi paste, sriracha sauce or chili pepper flakes
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 large, ripe avocados
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 Tbls sesame seeds
- 4-6 sheets of dried nori or furikake*, for garnish
- Rinse rice in a fine-mesh strainer. Cook rice accordining to instructions or in a rice cooker.
- With a sharp knife, cut the ahi tuna into 3/4" cubes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar and a bit of wasabi, sriracha or chili flakes, to taste.
- Add the tuna and scallions and stir gently to combine.
- This much can be done up to 1 hour in advance. Keep chilled.
- Just before serving, pit and dice the avocado into small cubes.
- Gently stir them into the ahi with a generous pinch of pepper and sesame seeds.
- Arrange your tuna poke bowl with a generous scoop of rice, tuna mixture and crumbled dried nori or furikake on top.
- Serve with more soy and wasabi on the side.
- Furikake is a dried Japanese seasoning mix of seaweed, sesame seeds and other ingredients. You can find many varieties at any Asian market, Whole Foods and even the Asian aisle of some great supermarkets. It's delicious sprinkled on many different rice bowls.