On the mainland, poke is exploding. Endless riffs on the Hawaiian raw fish salad are served up in bars and bistros and out of deli cases. Many cities now have dedicated poke bars. In Seattle alone, no fewer than seven opened their doors in 2016. New York went from zero to a half-dozen poke-only spots in the span of a year.
Poke [pronounced POH-kay] won’t be a has-been anytime soon. The poke bowl’s briny, bright cubes of fish dressed up with an array of fun extras is the whole package for many eaters: an inspiring patchwork of colors and textures that’s long on flavor and packed with nutrients.
But that doesn’t mean it has to stay in our eateries. Now that many of us are hooked, we think it’s time to learn to make it ourselves.
If you believe J. Kenzi Lopez-Alt, poke is best eaten at home anyway, so long as you have access to very fresh, sashimi-grade fish.
The traditional dish is made with cubed tuna, sea salt, algae, and kukui nut paste. Today, the standard preparation has an Asian profile, made with sweet onions, seaweed, sesame, and soy sauce. You can also try it with other fatty fish, such as salmon or marlin.
A poke salad is eaten on its own. But you can make it a meal by serving the marinated fish over rice or vegetables with additions such as furikake, roe, edamame, cucumber, pickled ginger, and avocado. For anyone who’s avoiding fish, here’s a brilliant vegetarian solution.
With careful shopping and a simple marinade, you can demystify the trend and experiment with your own combinations.