Simple Tuna Poke Bowls
Summer cooking is all about low fuss and high reward. Actually, all cooking should rely on that ratio. Tuna poke, using sushi-grade fish, is the type of meal I’m talking about! Refreshing, flavorful, and finished without the use of a single pot or pan.
Poke tuna is a ubiquitous Hawaiian convenience store and deli counter item. I’ve based my recipe off a tuna tartare recipe I’ve been making for years. If you would like to use the exact same ratio of ingredients here to make tartare, just cut the tuna into 1/8-inch dice. I also add about 3 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts when making tartare because I like the added crunch.
For poke, dice the tuna into 1/2-inch size chunks, and dice the avocado similarly. Traditional poke contains a mixture of hajiki, wakame or other seaweed, but sometimes I just dice some sheets of seaweed and sprinkle on top for texture and crunch.
Ask your fish monger for sushi grade tuna (you can also substitute sushi grade salmon if you prefer). Usually the fishmonger will bring it from the deep freezer where it’s stored. Sushi grade fish is individually sealed and flash frozen right when it’s caught to ensure that it stays as fresh and bacteria-free as possible. If in doubt about whether or not to use it for poke, ask your fish monger if he would eat the fish raw. If he says no, I’d think twice.
How to Store Sushi-Grade Fish
Keep the fish in your freezer until you are ready to use. To thaw the fish, transfer it to the refrigerator and let it gradually soften and use it within 24 hours. It will take about three hours in the fridge before you can use it in the recipe. Once I have all the ingredients mixed together in a glass or ceramic bowl, I sometimes nestle the bowl into a larger bowl full of ice. Place the stacked bowls in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to serve. This isn’t a dish you can make ahead hours in advance; it’s best to serve it within an hour of making.
How to Keep this Whole30
Tuna poke is easily adaptable for Whole30 and paleo diets. Use coconut aminos instead of soy or Tamari, and don’t serve the poke over rice. While it’s encouraged you limit your sesame oil intake on Whole30, there isn’t much in this recipe and it adds a rich, toasty flavor. You can cut it down or omit if you’d like.
What to Serve with Poke
Serve poke tuna in a bowl over sushi rice or jasmine rice. Top off the bowl with some shelled edamame, thinly sliced fresh jalapeño or julienned dried seaweed. A simple cucumber salad would be delicious here. To make, thinly slice Persian or peeled English cucumber and place it in bowl. Sprinkle with sesame oil, a little tamari, a pinch of sea salt and maybe a dash of red chili sauce (such as sriracha or sambal olek) and mix to combine.
Other Easy Summer Dinners
- Fish tacos with cabbage and pickled red onions
- Spatchcocked Chicken — you can also cook this on the grill!
- Slow-Roasted Salmon — add leftovers to salads and tacos!
- Arugula and Basil Pesto, on pasta or grilled chicken or fish
- 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger use a microplaner
- 3 tablespoons sliced green onions cut very thinly on the bias, green part only
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeño
- 1 avocado cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 6 ounces sushi-grade tuna cut into 1/2-inch dice, keep chilled
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- In a medium-size glass or ceramic bowl, mix together the tamari, sesame oil, ginger and jalapeño. Set aside until ready to serve. The tamari mixtyre can sit at room temperature for up to an hour, or covered in the refrigerator for up to six hours. When ready to serve, add the diced avocado and tuna. Mix gently to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
- Do-ahead note: The tuna can be diced up to six hours in advanced, wrapped well and refrigerated.