POKE ... THE NEXT CEVICHE / SASHIMI / CRUDO?
Poke ... pronounced poke ay and poh key ... is a Hawaiian mainstay that's migrating our way. Basically a bowl of chopped or cubed raw fish (traditionally ahi tuna over seaweed seasoned rice ... the fish tossed in a capriciously composed marinade: soy sauce, macadamia nuts, spring onions, seaweed, avocado, mango, sesame oil, ginger, chiles of varying degrees of heat, numerous Japanese seasoning blends ... you can see where this might lead directly to kale and tofu. Pokerias are cropping in America and is giving way to octopus, scallops, salmon, blue fin.
HOW TO MAKE A POKE BOWL LIKE A TRUE HAWAII LOCAL
1. The Rice
As the first layer of the bowl, rice counterbalances the fishy taste of the raw poke (which means "to cut into pieces" in Hawaiian). We recommend using white rice, seasoned with rice vinegar and chopped seaweed. For the highest quality bowl, use short grain Japanese sushi rice, but regular white rice is also sufficient and can be swapped with brown rice if desired.
2. The Fish
Fresh fish is the most important ingredient in a poke bowl. The fresher, the better. Ahi tuna, or yellowfin tuna, is the most common choices used in the islands, but other fish varities are being tried and tested.
When choosing a fish, consider these three things: smell (Fresh fish should have a very light fish smell -- almost no smell), colour (fresh tuna should be a bright crimson red) and texture (firm to the touch).
3. The Cut
Firstly cut the fish into filets like the ones you see in the window at the sushi bar. From there, cut them into cubes. It's best to cut "with the grain, not against it," to avoid perforated edges. After it's cut into cubes, salt the fish to taste using Hawaiian or sea salt.
4. The Poke Sauce And Garnishes
The Basics: sliced red onion, chopped spring onion, slices of avocado, lightly drizzled soy sauce, roe, cherry tomatoes and sesame seeds.
For Spicy Poke: blend chilli peppers with Hawaiian sea salt and a light drizzle of olive oil until it turns into a paste; mix in with mayonnaise and unagi (eel) sauce to taste.
5. Pulling It All Together
1. Put the freshly cut fish cubes into a large bowl, sprinkle sea salt to taste.
2. Add and toss soy sauce or desired sauce to taste, just enough to coat the cubes.
3. Put a scoop of rice in a single serve bowl.
4. Pour the seasoned poke over the rice, creating a mound.
5. Add final touches and garnishing.
6. Sprinkle the bowl with furikake seasoning.