A Taste of Hawaii: Poke Bowl Recipe

Poke, a Hawaiian dish usually made with fish but also possible vegan, is delicious source of nutrients. We share a quick, simple recipe.

When in Hawaii one must try local poke. Poke means to cut or slice in Hawaiian and refers to a dish of diced, raw, marinated fish, typically tuna or octopus. Poke is said to have originated from native Polynesians hundreds of years before westerners arrived on the islands. Today, the marinade usually consists of soy sauce and sesame oil, among other additions like onion, kimchi, pepper, etc; but when it was initially made years ago, the raw fish was mixed with salt and seaweed. The salt was for flavor but also to preserve the fish. In the 1960s and ’70s is when historians believe that poke became what we know it as today. Then, in the ’90s, Chef Sam Choy, referred to as the “Godfather of Poke”, seemed to popularize the dish amongst a wider audience through his annual poke cooking contest that is still going on today. 

Poke is typically made with ahi tuna or octopus; however, you will also find places that serve salmon or white fish. You can even find poke-style dishes for vegetarians and vegans using protein replacements like tofu. When picking a fish to make poke with, it is imperative that you choose wisely. Since the fish will be enjoyed raw, make sure that it is sashimi grade, ideally wild-caught, and locally sourced from a distributor with a good reputation. Some key healthy nutrients you’ll get from tuna are vitamin B12, iron, phosphorus, and vitamin D. If you prefer to make your poke with salmon, you’ll be getting a boost of omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, astaxanthin, and selenium. Sesame oil is loaded with antioxidants, healthy fats, and vitamin E. Serving the fish over a cup of rice will make this a filling and satisfying meal full of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. If you are concerned with the mercury content of fish, keep in mind the FDA advises that pregnant women avoid uncooked fish and only enjoy cooked low-mercury fish.

Poke Recipe

If you are not in Hawaii but want to bring the same delicious flavors of poke to your house, follow our recipe below. 

– 1 sashimi-grade ahi tuna steak, 1-inch dice. You can substitute tuna for your fish of choice. We also love wild-caught salmon.
– ¼ of a yellow onion, small dice
– 1 green onion, thinly sliced
– 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce. If you are gluten free, look for tamari made without gluten.
– 1 tablespoon sesame oil
– 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
– Sea salt, to taste
– Red pepper flakes, to taste
– 1 cup cooked jasmine, brown, or basmati rice
– Toppings of choice: diced avocado, pickled radish, edamame, carrot. 

– Combine tuna, yellow onion, green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, sea salt, and red pepper flakes in a bowl.
– Serve over your choice of rice and enjoy. 

If you’re vegan, you can still enjoy the delicious flavors of poke! Simply marinate extra firm, pressed tofu in soy sauce, sesame oil, yellow onion, green onion, sea salt, and red pepper flakes for at least 20 minutes. Serve over rice and top with any other toppings of your choice. 

History of poke source: https://hawaiioceanproject.com/a-brief-history-of-poke-in-hawaii/ 


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Taylor Marks
Taylor Marks is a certified holistic health coach and current student at The Institute of Culinary Education studying health supportive culinary arts. Her passions include making nourishing food taste and look delicious and guiding others towards feeling their best.


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