Poke Bowl • Just One Cookbook
Are you ready for a taste of Hawaii closer to home? Try this refreshing Tuna and Salmon Poke Bowl, a Japanese-influenced version of Hawaiian diced raw fish served donburi style. Customize your bowl with the creative mix-ins suggested. It’s a light and satisfying meal for the family or at your next DIY Poke Party!
Fresh buttery tuna and salmon tossed with a sesame soy dressing and finished with all the best toppings, this poke bowl is every bite sunshiny, refreshing, and satisfying.
When this beloved Hawaiian favorite first swept up in a craze across the nation, everyone around me cannot stop raving about it. While poke is (technically) no longer a trendy food, its popularity holds strong and found itself a fixture in the food scene outside of Hawaii. There are food trucks, cafes, and fancy restaurants offering all versions of poke bowls. You no longer have to fly to Hawaii to eat poke.
The best part of the news is that poke is incredibly easy to make at home, so long you have access to fresh quality sushi-grade seafood. If you’re ready to bring an authentic taste of Hawaii closer to home, this Tuna and Salmon Poke Bowl recipe is for you!
What is Poke?
Originated in Hawaii, poké (pronounced POH-KAY, not POKE-EE) is a dish consisting of marinated diced raw fish served as an appetizer or a main course. In the Hawaiian language, poke can mean anything chunked as it comes from the verb “to section, to slice, or to cut”. Popular seafood used for poke includes ahi (yellowfin tuna), he’e (octopus, tako) and aku (skipjack tuna, katsuo), and salmon.
With heavy influences from Japanese and other Asian cuisines, poke represents the diverse and multifaceted culture of Hawaii. The raw fish is commonly marinated in seasonings such as soy sauce, sesame oil, and green onions, and topped with local condiments such as candlenut, Maui onion, and Hawaiian sea salt.
Now that poke is being spread all over the country, the dish is taking on another whole new level of interpretation. You’ll see ingredients such as mango, cilantro, pickled jalapeño, jicama, and so on being added to the bowl. You can say modern poke has become very much like a seafood salad bowl, bursting with colors, textures, and tastes.
Whether you prefer a classic Hawaiian poke or a modern version, I believe poke is here to stay.
Why Make Poke Bowl at Home
- The best no-cook meal, especially in the summer!
- Endlessly customizable. Make it with just a few ingredients or go crazy with colorful veggies—your call!
- DIY Poke Bowl Party. Super easy and quick to prepare for a large crowd.
How to Cook Poke Bowl
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Sashimi-grade fish. I used a mix of ahi tuna and salmon.
- The seasonings. For the most basic components of the dressing, you just need shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) and sesame oil. My family loves rice vinegar in the sauce, so I always dash in a few splashes for a refreshing tang. You can also mix in ponzu sauce, sriracha, spicy mayo, gochujang, wasabi, grated ginger juice, lemon and lime juice. Feel free to experiment and find your favorite.
- The veggies. Traditional poke is rather simple and only uses Maui onions, but you can use other varieties of sweet onions that are suited for eating raw. On the other hand, modern poke bowls often include colorful mixes of veggies such as edamame, sprouts, radishes, chopped romaine, leafy greens, etc. (See topping ideas below.)
- The grain (optional). In Hawaii, poke is usually served as an appetizer like a salad, but you can make it into a wholesome one-dish meal by serving poke on top of steamed white rice or brown rice, like the Japanese rice bowl donburi. If you prefer a lighter version, you could also serve poke over quinoa or cauliflower rice for a keto-friendly meal. The possibilities are endless!
Overview: Prepping (Not Cooking!) Steps
- Cut the sushi-grade fish and prepare the toppings of your choice.
- Make the poke seasoning and coat it with the tuna and salmon.
- Serve the tuna and salmon over the steamed rice and add your favorite toppings!
Where to Get Sashimi-Grade Tuna and Salmon
If you live near a Japanese grocery store, I recommend checking out their sashimi selections. Here in the Bay Area where I live, both Nijiya Market and Suruki Market in San Mateo are my go-to stores.
Don’t live near a Japanese grocery store? You can also find frozen sashimi-grade tuna at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and local specialty seafood shops. If you are unsure, ask the fishmonger for recommendations.
Other best option is to shop at online sashimi stores, such as Catalina Offshore.
Poke Bowl Variations and Ideas
The concept of a poke bowl opens up plenty of possibilities. To build an incredible bowl, you’d like to keep these in mind—textures, freshness, colors, and balance. Below are some topping ideas for you to work with:
Additional Toppings Ideas:
- Avocado – The richness of avocado resembles fatty tuna and adds a creamy texture.
- Veggies such as cucumbers, radishes, and carrots – Depending on what you use, you can thinly slice or dice the veggies into fun shapes to add colors and a refreshing crunch.
- Edamame – Adds a nice substance to the dish and it’s an excellent source of protein.
- Microgreens such as daikon sprouts, broccoli, and kale sprouts. They are pretty and packed with a nutritional punch.
- Green onions – Add a fresh, herby note to the dish.
- Masago – These salty, delicate fish roes add a pop of color and interesting bite.
- Seaweed – Shredded nori or julienned seaweed provides a crispy texture to the poke bowl.
- Sesame seeds – They add an aromatic nutty flavor to the bowl and beautify the dish.
- Macadamia nuts
- Furikake (rice seasonings) – Adds another element of fun and umami.
- Pickled sushi ginger (recipe) – Refreshing and zesty.
- Wasabi – So good with fresh sashimi.
- Spicy Mayo – You’ll need only Japanese mayo and sriracha sauce to make this yummy sauce. It will give your poke bowl a creamy, spicy kick!
Hawaiian Ingredients – Limu & Kukui Nut
For my recipe, I added limu (a type of seaweed), and grated kukui nut (candlenut). These are often included in Hawaiian poke for extra flavors and textures. They can be hard to find outside of Hawaii, so you can skip them.
If you live in Peninsula (SF Bay Area), Takahashi Market in San Mateo sells limu and kukui nuts in the deli section of the supermarket.
Vegetarian and Vegan Poke Bowls
You can certainly make a vegetarian/vegan version of poke by using tofu. Check out my Vegan Poke Bowl recipe.
Q: Is the poke bowl healthy?
Fresh seafood such as tuna and salmon are considered one of the healthiest foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. Combined with colorful vegetables, a poke bowl has a balance of protein, vitamins, and minerals. The sesame oil used in the seasoning is known to improve your appetite (at least we say so in Japan). Be sure to use quality sashimi-grade fish.
However, the definition of ‘healthy’ is subjective and it often comes down to bio-individuality, so use your own discretion or consult with professional nutritionists if you have any health concerns.
Q: How do I make sure the raw fish in a poke is safe to eat?
For people who are new to making raw fish at home, this is a legitimate concern. To minimize the risk of getting sick from eating raw fish, you want to make sure the fish has been handled and frozen properly for sashimi use. Other considerations include spoilage, parasites, and cross-contamination. In most countries, including the US, there’s no regulation around the labels of “sashimi-grade” and “sushi-grade”, so use your own judgment when it comes to buying raw fish.
My family eats raw fish for sashimi and sushi regularly and we don’t have any issues with getting sick. My advice is to get your raw fish from a reputable shop or fishmonger. Since you know the source of the fish itself, it is actually safer to enjoy sashimi at home.
You can learn more about raw fish safety from this article.
Gluten-Free Soy Sauce for Poke Bowl
For this recipe, I used Kikkoman gluten-free soy sauce (shown on the left in the picture above) in my dressing for the poke. It tastes just like regular soy sauce! Click here to learn more about the product.
If you’re not gluten intolerant, you can use regular Japanese soy sauce. Please use only Japanese soy sauce as it tastes different from Chinese and Korean soy sauces. Read more here.
More Sushi and Sashimi Recipes You’ll Enjoy
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Are you ready for a taste of Hawaii closer to home? Try this refreshing Tuna and Salmon Poke Bowl, a Japanese-influenced version of Hawaiian diced raw fish served donburi style. While my base recipe features traditional Hawaiian elements like fresh limu (seaweed) and roasted kukui nut, you can customize your bowl with the creative mix-ins suggested. It’s a light and satisfying meal for the family or at your next DIY Poke Party!
For the Creative Mix-Ins (optional; see Notes for details)
Serve the steamed rice in a large donburi bowl or plate. Let it cool down a little bit. Then, pile the poke on top. If you’d like, you can add mix-ins or toppings of your choice (see Notes below). Serve and enjoy immediately.
- Avocado – the richness of avocado resembles fatty tuna and adds a creamy texture.
- Veggies such as cucumbers, radishes, and carrots – depending on what you use, you can thinly slice or dice the veggies into fun shapes to add colors and a refreshing crunch.
- Edamame – adds a nice substance to the dish and it’s an excellent source of protein.
- Microgreens – such as daikon sprouts, broccoli, and kale sprouts; they are pretty and packed with a nutritional punch.
- Cherry tomatoes – quartered; ripe tomatoes add a sweet, flavorful, and lightly acidic element.
- Masago – these salty, delicate fish roes add a pop of color and interesting bite.
- Seaweed – shredded nori or julienned seaweed provides a crispy texture to the poke bowl.
- Sesame seeds – add an aromatic nutty flavor to the bowl and beautify the dish.
- Macadamia nuts — mild and creamy; roasted and chopped macadamia nuts are somewhat close in flavor to roasted kukui nuts.
- Furikake (rice seasonings) – adds another element of fun and umami.
- Pickled sushi ginger (recipe) – refreshing and zesty.
- Wasabi – so good with fresh sashimi.
- Spicy Mayo – you’ll need only Japanese mayo and sriracha sauce to make this yummy sauce; it will give your poke bowl a creamy, spicy kick!
Calories: 435 kcal · Carbohydrates: 31 g · Protein: 37 g · Fat: 17 g · Saturated Fat: 3 g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 6 g · Monounsaturated Fat: 6 g · Cholesterol: 70 mg · Sodium: 1250 mg · Potassium: 633 mg · Fiber: 1 g · Sugar: 1 g · Vitamin A: 1761 IU · Vitamin C: 2 mg · Calcium: 50 mg · Iron: 3 mg
Editor’s Note: The post was originally published on May 27, 2016. It’s been updated with more information and republished on August 26, 2022.
Our Recommendations for Buying Sashimi Online
When we have a sudden craving for sashimi we usually buy from our local Japanese supermarkets. If you don’t have a reliable shop to purchase quality sashimi nearby, we would recommend buying from Catalina Offshore online.
They’ve been in business for over forty years and all the sashimi products we’ve tried from them are outstanding. Use J1COOK20 for 10% discount. Disclosure: We earn a small percentage commission from your purchase of products linked to Catalina Offshore.