Bring the taste of Hawaii to your table, but add a bit of a California twist with this ahi poke bowl with quinoa and avocado.
I was introduced to sushi in my twenties, when I was living in Miami. It wasn’t a cultural phenomenon back then, but something new and exotic. For this Texas girl, eating raw fish way out of my culinary comfort zone.
I learned a lot about food and myself during those years in Miami. I was fresh out of college, working 60-hours a week in an advertising agency and continuously trying new foods and exploring new places.
And now, almost 20 years later, I haven’t quite lost my sense of adventure – although it has been sidetracked for a bit. My adventures are with the kids. I enjoy watching their eyes glow while experiencing something new: a new taste or a new thrill.
Why you should try this recipe
So when I talk about poke, I’m talking about poh-key not your kids finger jabbing at your ribs begging for your attention. Poke is Hawaiian for “to slice or cut crosswise into pieces.” It is a traditional dish from Hawaii.
Poke is traditionally made with raw tuna and coated with a lightly sweetened soy based sauce. Poke bowls are typically served with white or brown rice, with seaweed salad, sweet onions and pickled ginger.
Several years ago we managed to take the kids to the Big island of Hawaii. All five of us savored every second we were there. The ocean was the same Pacific ocean we swim in here in San Diego, but it was warmer and bluer than at home.
Although I had enjoyed poke in California, there was something surreal about enjoying this Hawaiian dish in Hawaii. But the beauty of the food world, is that you can create this dish, as well as any other dishes, and develop it with your own twist and interpretation.
Several weeks ago, a friend of mine introduced me to a new restaurant nearby. On the menu was an ahi poke bowl. You had the option of eating it with rice or quinoa. I was reminded again of my mesmerizing trip to Hawaii.
Quinoa makes a great substitution for rice in a poke bowl. Quinoa is higher in protein and fiber than either brown or white rice, making it a healthier choice, too. And quite honestly, my husband and I prefer the nuttier flavor of quinoa in our poke bowls than with rice.
And yes, you can use chopsticks to eat quinoa. I make my quinoa more on the fluffy side, so it has the same sticky qualities as Japanese short grain rice.
See my Ahi Poke Bowl Web Story for a quick visual guide to making this recipe.
Ingredients you need
- Starch: The base of a poke bowl can be white rice, brown rice and quinoa. I personally prefer quinoa. Be sure to cook the starch of your choice first. You can use warm quinoa or let it cool to room temperature. For a low carb version, you can use your favorite salad greens instead.
- Sashimi grade fish: The fish of choice for most poke bowls is ahi tuna, but you can also use salmon, cooked shrimp or cooked crab. If you are using raw fish make sure it is sashimi grade fish. You can find this at high quality fish markets or Asian fish markets.
- Soy sauce: I prefer to use low sodium soy sauce, but you can use regular soy sauce, as well.
- Lime juice: You can use bottled or fresh lime juice.
- Sesame oil: Luckily you can find sesame oil in regular grocery stores, Trader Joe’s or even specialty stores.
- Hot sauce: If you like a little spice, use your choice of hot sauce. I use whatever I have in the fridge which ranges from Tapatio, Cholulu and Sriracha.
- Seaweed salad: I buy my sashimi grade fish from Hmart and they always have ready made seaweed salad available. You can make a traditional Japanese seaweed salad here. And here is the recipe if you prefer the Americanized seaweed salad.
- Persian cucumbers: Slices of cucumbers are commonly added to poke bowls. They have a mild flavor and offer a little bit of crunch.
- Radishes: I like to add radishes to my poke bowl. Feel free to omit, if you do not like radishes.
- Avocado: My family and I are avid avocado fans, so we always add some to our poke bowls.
- Fresh herbs: I am also a fan of adding fresh herbs for extra flavor. Some of my favorite choices are cilantro and green onions.
- More options: You can also include pickled ginger, wasabi, crispy fried onions, soy beans, shredded cabbage, sesame seeds, mango, pineapple and roe.
1. Cook your choice of starch per package directions. If you want quinoa, you can also purchase tubes of already cooked quinoa. Chop your fish and vegetables.
2. For the dressing, whisk together soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil and hot sauce. Stir in chunks of ahi tuna. You can also serve the dressing on the side, if you prefer.
3. Divide quinoa evenly into 6 bowls. Divide remaining ingredients evenly between the 6 bowls and serve with dressing.
Recipe tips and FAQs
If you are using two types of fish, you can make two different sauces for them If you like it spicy, combine a little mayonnaise and hot sauce and toss your fish in it.
You can easily customize these bowls with your favorite toppings. If you are serving a larger group, let everyone assemble their bowls, offering all the toppings for them to choose from.
Again, I can’t emphasize this enough: If you are eating raw fish, use sashimi grade fish. Even better if you use freshly caught fish.
Poke is a Hawaiin dish where a bowl of rice or quinoa is topped with sashimi fish like ahi tuna or salmon. It is served with other garnishments like seaweed salad, avocado and cucumber slices. It is typically served with a soy sauce based dressing.
The base of a poke bowl is usually rice, but you can also use quinoa or salad. It is usually served with raw sashimi, like ahi tuna or salmon. Some of the extras you can find in a poke bowl are cucumber slices, radishes, seaweed salad, cilantro, green onions, pickled ginger, wasabi, crispy fried onions, soy beans, shredded cabbage, sesame seeds, mango, pineapple and roe.
- 1 cup quinoa
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 1 TBS lime juice
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce
- 2 lb ahi tuna (sashimi grade), chopped into cubes or slices
- ½ lb seaweed salad
- 3 Persian cucumbers, halved and sliced
- 8 radishes, halved and sliced
- 2 avocados, peeled and sliced or cubed
- 6 sprigs of fresh cilantro, stems removed
- Cook your choice of starch per package directions. If you want quinoa, you can also purchase tubes of already cooked quinoa. Fluff you rice or quinoa and let it cool.
- Chop your fish and vegetables.
- For the dressing, whisk together soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil and hot sauce. Stir in chunks of ahi tuna. You can also serve the dressing on the side, if you prefer
- Once quinoa has cooled to room temperature, divide evenly in six bowls.
- Divide quinoa evenly into 6 bowls.
- Divide remaining ingredients evenly between the 6 bowls and serve with dressing.
You can also include pickled ginger, wasabi, crispy fried onions, soy beans, shredded cabbage, sesame seeds, mango, pineapple and roe.
Not a fan of quinoa? Use white or brown rice instead.
You can also use raw salmon, cooked shrimp and/or cooked crab.
You can also stir your fish in a spicy mayonnaise. Just combine mayo with your favorite hot sauce, like sriracha.
Serving Size:1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 491Total Fat: 19.8gSaturated Fat: 3.2gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 1706mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 22.2gSugar: 9.9gProtein: 41.6g
PS If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback.
You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram. Sign up for my eMail list, too!