Recipe: Salmon Poke Bowls

This was one culinary secret that exploded worldwide.
I've always enjoyed a good and satisfying poke bowl. And I'm especially grateful that for some reason, these poke bowl shops have been popping up everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE. I generally prefer salmon as opposed to other seafood (fish) varieties because of the taste and because it's a good source of protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, and potassium. It fills you up real good because you can add as much greens as you want and get your water and fibre intake as well without even noticing it. 

Before this became a worldwide fad, this was one secret the Hawaiians and the Japanese kept close to them. And what a great culinary secret it was! Poke is a wonderful dish that literally means "cut into pieces", made up of raw fish and all the accoutrements like rice, avocados, cucumbers, seaweed, green onions, sesame seeds, ginger, greens, and a whole lot more. This dish originated in Hawaii and in the later years, when there was an influx of Japanese immigrants and visitors, the Japanese took this to heart and made their own versions of this as well. And in case you were wondering, the correct pronunciation is "Poh-khay" and not the americanized version, "Pohw-kee". Thank you to the wonderful people of the islands for this dish - what a great culinary gem. 

My husband wasn't really into this. Anything with a salad base, really. But when I ordered this one time, I noticed he'd always look at my bowl. His curiosity obviously peaked. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to share it with him because I ordered a spicy salmon bowl - and he's allergic to spice. One day, he casually said, "hey.... remember that poke bowl?" HAHAHA. I knew it. So I made some bowls at home to satisfy his hunger and curious mind. And yes... he finished the whole bowl. Greens and all. 

Lucky for us, Toronto continues to prove its diversity in groceries, food products, and restaurants. We're blessed to have a small Japanese mecca here (known as J-Town, where you can buy ingredients or ready-made food) and a fresh Japanese market with top-grade sushi-grade seafood. We go to Taro's Fish and we can definitely get the freshest ingredients, pantry items, and even freshly-made sushi trays. I swear... when we go here I just panic internally and sometimes not buy anything because my system went through shock again. Here are some photos of Taro's Fish:

Salmon Poke Bowls
This makes 3-4 portions but since we prefer a hefty serving of this, this just really makes 2 portions for us. Because you know... we're always hungry. This way, we don't kid ourselves eating a smaller portion and then go hungry again in an hour. 

You'll need a mixing bowl, a spatula/wooden spoon, your knife and chopping board, and your serving bowls. 

1 lb sushi-grade salmon, cubed (fresh salmon is always best)
2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp sesame oil 
2 tsp rice vinegar 
2 tbsp soy sauce/tamari 
2 green onions, finely chopped (optional, you can lessen this if you don't want too much of that onion taste overpowering the dish)
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp mirin
salt to taste

3 cups cooked Sushi Rice (you can make your own with this recipe)
1 cup shredded lettuce, iceberg is fine (other options are romaine, butternut, or a pre-made salad mix)
1 avocado, chopped
half a cucumber, chopped

For toppings:
sesame seeds, toasted
Furikake** rice seasoning 
Panko breadcrumbs or Tenkasu (those crispy little Japanese tempura bits - yes, you can buy this)
Japanese mayonnaise 
Teriyaki or Ponzu sauce (it's easy to make your own but if you prefer to buy the ready-made sauces, I won't judge you)
hot sauce or Sriracha (optional)
Sriracha mayo (optional - I still use Japanese mayo for this, about 3 tbsp of mayo and 1 tbsp Sriracha - to taste depending on how hot you want this. I don't use this for my husband because he's allergic to spice.)
chopped green onions

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ginger, sesame oil, rice vinegar, tamari, green onions, sesame seeds, mirin, and salt to taste. Make sure to give this a good stirring so it's all incorporated. Add the salmon chunks and let this sit marinate for 5 minutes. 
2. In your serving bowls, divide the rice equally. Add some shredded lettuce, chopped avocados, chopped cucumbers, and a good helping of the marinated salmon poke. 
3. Drizzle some Japanese mayo, sriracha or sriracha mayo, and teriyaki or ponzu sauce.
4. Sprinkle some sesame seeds, Furikake, Panko or Tenkasu, and chopped green onions. 
5. Your suffering is over. ENJOY!!!! How easy was that?!?!

*Some seafood variations include ahi tuna, octopus, and skip jack tuna. You can even make a combination of all these seafood. I just generally prefer salmons - and never really liked raw tuna. For some reason, I'm sensitive to tasting the alkalinity of this. 

**Furikake rice seasoning is available in most asian grocery stores. A small dash of this goes a long way. It really punches that umami packed taste in each dish you at this to. I pretty much top this on freshly made Japanese rice or rice dishes. Even when I make katsu or takoyaki.

***Go nuts for toppings! The ingredients I included in our bowls are just our usuals. You can definitely add edamame beans, some pickled ginger, corn kernels, mango chunks, crab meat salad, and a lot more. 

****You can definitely drop this and make this dish low-carb or keto-friendly. Replace the rice with a good helping of mixed salad greens instead. Instead of mirin, you can add a sugar replacement or a sweetener like Stevia, Swerve, or monk fruit. The mirin together with the vinegar and tamari (soy sauce) give this dish a sweeter more teriyaki-like taste. If you'd like, you can remove this element altogether. 

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