According to Google, poke bowls (pronounced pokee) originated in Hawaii but are now deeply-rooted in Japanese cuisine. Poke means “cut into pieces” and refers to the slices or cubes of raw fish that are served in a bowl, along with rice, vegetables, dressing and seasoning.
A poke bowl is usually an individual serving, with the various ingredients arranged in groups. In this version, which I created as part of a buffet lunch where I had been asked to bring a plate, I made one large poke bowl, with the ingredients evenly layered in the serving dish.
I have always made my own salad dressings but this roasted sesame dressing is an exception. I buy it from Woolworths and we always have a bottle in the fridge. If you have never tried it I should warn you that it’s addictive. Guaranteed to perk up any salad!
1 cup sushi rice
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
300g fresh salmon
1 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 finely chopped birds-eye chilli (optional)
1 Lebanese cucumber, half the peel removed, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and shredded into fine julienne
1 avocado, sliced
3 eggs, hardboiled and quartered
½ red onion, thinly sliced (or spring onions)
Black sesame seeds
1 Tbs pink peppercorns (optional)
Kewpie Japanese roasted sesame dressing (see note below)
Cook the rice in boiling salted water then rinse, drain thoroughly and mix in the rice wine, sugar and seasoning to taste, while it’s still warm. Spread over the base of a large serving dish. Remove skin and trim any stringy bits from the salmon, then cut it into 1cm cubes. Mix it with the olive oil, grated ginger and chilli if using.
Arrange the ingredients evenly over the rice, in the order they are listed. Finish with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and some pink peppercorns if you have them. Lastly drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.
If preferred serve the ingredients in 3 or 4 individual bowls.
Serves 6-10 as a side dish
Note: Kewpie Japanese roasted sesame dressing is available in Australia in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets. Here is a photo of the bottle so you know what it looks like and a recipe to make your own if you can’t buy it where you live.
Variations: add baby tomatoes, halved. Use raw tuna instead of salmon.