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.
What is poke?
So when I talk about poke, I’m talking about poh-kay 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.
Quinoa poke bowl
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.
How to make ahi poke bowl
Because you are eating raw fish, you need to use sushi grade fish to make an ahi poke bowl. I purchased sushi grade ahi tuna and salmon from my local asian market. No rules limit your poke to just tuna. I have pictured ahi tuna, but enjoyed this poke bowl with salmon or yellow tail, too.
I served my ahi poke over a bed of quinoa pilaf, but if you are low-carbing it, you can use shredded cabbage. The rest of accompaniments are up to, but I used cucumber, radish, seaweed salad (bought at the store, but here’s a recipe to make your own seaweed salad), pickled ginger, fresh cilantro and avocado – because in California, you serve everything with avocado!
And of course, my own poke sauce that takes me back to Hawaii with every single bite.
Where do your culinary adventures take you?
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cup water
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1 TBS lime juice
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp hot sauce
- 2 lb ahi tuna (sashimi grade), chopped into cubes or slices
- 1/2 lb seaweed salad
- 3 Persian cucumbers, halved and sliced
- 8 radishes, halved and sliced
- 2 avocados, peeled and sliced or cubed
- 1/4 cup pickled ginger
- 6 sprigs of fresh cilantro, stems removed
- Rinse quinoa with water.
- In a small pot bring 2 cups water to boil.
- When water is boiling, transfer rinsed quinoa and return to boil.
- Cover, reduce heat to low and continue to cook until the water is gone and quinoa is cooked, about 12-15 minutes.
- Remove lid to pot and allow quinoa to cool.
- For the dressing, whisk together soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil and hot sauce.
- 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.
Serving Suggestions: Serve with other sides: green onions, red onions, sesame seeds and/or jalapeño slices. If you like wasabi, serve with that, too.
Cooking Tips: Not a fan of quinoa? Use white or brown rice instead.
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Serving Size:1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 491 Total Fat: 19.8g Saturated Fat: 3.2g Cholesterol: 67mg Sodium: 1706mg Carbohydrates: 38g Fiber: 22.2g Sugar: 9.9g Protein: 41.6g