Just to make things clear from the start, this Poké Bowl Recipe has nothing to do with the latest interactive global game of a similar sounding name; Pokémon Go. In fact, the only connection I can make between this recipe and the mobile phone app, and I’m drawing a very long bow here, is Japan. The Land of the Rising Sun. That’s it. You see the original Pokémon Nintendo computer game from circa 1996 was developed in Japan. Similarly, this Poké Bowl Recipe was developed using a number of typically Japanese ingredients. A very long bow indeed.
Despite the obvious Japanese bent of this Poké Bowl Recipe, you might be surprised to know that the original raw fish salad actually has its foundations in Hawaiian cuisine. In Hawaii the dish is referred to as Ahi Poké. The salad is served in a bowl featuring cooked rice and Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi) that is cut into pieces (Poké) and seasoned with Japanese ingredients. The final Poké Bowl is a cross between a burrito bowl and sushi.
There are three key elements to any Poké Bowl Recipe. After that you can get as creative as you like with flavours and textures to suit your own taste.
Three Key Elements in any Poké Bowl Recipe:
In this recipe I have used short grain sushi rice in keeping with the Japanese inspiration. You can also use ordinary long grain rice or even brown rice for a nuttier taste and bite. Just don’t use jasmine rice! You can turn your cooked white rice into sushi style rice using store bought sushi vinegar or you can make your own seasoning with rice vinegar, sugar and salt. You might prefer to keep your rice plain. Whatever your poison, serve the rice warm or at room temperature.
In this recipe I have used fresh Yellowfin Tuna from our local fisho ‘Freckle’ from Bay Seafood in Byron Bay. I wouldn’t go anywhere else! Using a sharp knife, slice the tuna fillets with the grain into roughly 1cm strips and then cube the strips. Don’t cut the tuna pieces too large as raw tuna is rich and I think it’s more delicious to have smaller cubes with extra surface area to lap up the salty soy and sesame-based marinade. If you’re not a fan of tuna then you can easily substitute with fresh salmon.
Lastly, you need to marinade the tuna pieces to add a layer of flavour to the salad and to help cut through the richness of the fish. In this Poké Bowl Recipe I use light soy sauce (you can substitute tamari), rice vinegar, sesame oil, chilli flakes and sliced shallots. The sauce acts as a marinade for the fish and as a dressing for the final salad. You can make a little extra marinade than the recipe suggests to use as additional dressing to pour over the final dish.
When assembling the Poké Bowl I added roasted, chopped macadamia nuts for texture and crunch and a reference to the local Hawaiian dish. You could add other flavours such as a sprinkling of furikake seasoning – a savoury spice mix of dried fish, sesame seeds, sugar and salt – or wakame seaweed salad.
If your looking for inspiration when making your version of this Poké Bowl Recipe just focus on using ingredients that you would normally add to sushi and you’ll be on the right track to Poké Bowl GO!
- 500g fresh Yellowfin tuna, cut into 1cm cubes
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce (or tamari for a Gluten Free option)
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- 2 green shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon nigella seeds
- 2 tablespoons roasted and chopped macadamia nuts
- 2 cups green salad leaves
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 small lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced on a mandolin
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked sushi rice
- 1/4 cup Kewpie mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek or Sri Racha sauce
- pickled ginger to serve
- Cook your sushi rice as per the packet instructions and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a small bowl combine the Kewpie mayonnaise with the Sambal Oelek or Sri Racha sauce and a squeeze of lime juice.
- In a non-reactive bowl combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, chilli flakes and shallots. Add the tuna and mix gently. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- To assemble the Poké Bowls add some salad greens to four serving bowls, follwed by a layer of rice. Tuck the cucumber slices into one side of the bowl.
- Take the tuna mix from the refrigerator and add the nigella seeds, macadamia nuts and avocado and gently combine. Divide and tuna mix into four portions and spoon the tuna mix over the rice bowls. Garnish with micro herbs or shiso leaves.
- Serve the Poké Bowls with pickled ginger and the spicy mayonnaise.
- Kewpie Mayonnaise is a Japanese brand available in most major supermarkets in the Asian grocery section.