The great plus point for tucking into a delicious ‘poke bowl’ is that it gives you a nutritional two-in-one.
Not only does a Poke Bowl top up your fish intake, deliciously ticking off one of your ‘two-servings-a-week’ goal, it is also packed with delicious vegetables, helping to power your way tastily towards your five-a-day of fruit and veg.
Originally eaten by fishermen in Hawaiian Islands who sensibly used cut-offs from their catch to create a quick snack, Hawaiian Poke essentially was a raw fish salad, consisting back then of raw pieces of fish, seaweed and some condiments like sesame oil, green onions and soy sauce.
As with most cuisine, Poke has evolved and today embraces a wide variety of ingredients. The versions we see in the UK now became popular in America around eight years ago and have gained fans on this side of the Atlantic with fantastic speed.
Although tradition poke bowls in Hawaii are often served as a starter with ‘Aku Poke’ using tuna and ‘He’e’ (or Tako) Poke relying on octopus, chefs have begun to experiment with everything from salmon to shellfish, with seaweed being replaced or enhanced with a wide array of tasty, crunchy vegetables to add colour, texture and flavour to their own, bespoke Poke Bowls.
The only nutritional drawback with poke in its traditional form is a reliance on soya sauce and teriyaki sauces for seasoning, which are high in salt. Mindful of our need to keep intakes of salt to below 6g a day in total, our chefs have created Poke Bowls with all the flavour and punch but minus the usual salt overload.
Here’s one to try at home.
Ingredients – Salad
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp onion powder
1tsp chilli powder
Zest 1 lemon
200g fresh tuna cut into chunks
Cooking oil spray, to grease
1 cooked beetroot (not pickled), diced into 1cm pieces
50g canned chickpeas in water, drained
Handful spinach, torn
1 carrot, julienned
1tsp white sesame seeds, toasted
50g quinoa, cooked and cooled
1 roasted red pepper from a jar in brine, drained and diced into 5mm pieces
Ingredients – Dressing
3tsp Tabasco sauce
60ml olive oil
Juice 1 lime
1tsp mirin (from the world food aisle at supermarkets)
1tsp reduced-salt soy sauce
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 shallot, crushed
1. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Combine the dry spices and lemon zest in a small bowl.
2. Dust the tuna chunks with the spice mixture and put on a lightly oiled baking tray. Roast in the oven for 20 min.
3. Put all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
4. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or jug, then pour over the salad and gently toss to combine.
5. Divide the salads among 4 bowls and top with the tuna chunks.