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Build Your Own Bowl

A Poke bowl (pronounced PO-KEH) is a traditional Hawaiian dish. Although it has been around for decades, it is only about two years ago that is has become trendy world-wide.  A traditional Hawaiian poke bowl consists of cubed raw fish, often tuna or salmon, which is seasoned with soy sauce and served on a bed of steamed sushi rice.  The key is using high-quality fresh fish that’s meant to be eaten raw, i.e. sashimi grade.

If you are worried about consuming raw fish, read the post How To Handle Raw Fish before attempting it. Alternatively, use cooked ingredients instead.  Be sure to read the post Raw Fish Is Delish! which has info on some of the most popular restaurant options containing raw or partially cooked fish.  All of these can be used in poke bowls!

A poke bowl, also known as a “deconstructed sushi bowl” is extremely versatile and can be adapted to your lifestyle, whether it is low-carb, vegetarian, etc. It can be customised to individual diners’ taste with only a few or as many toppings and garnishes as they like.  Poke bowls lend themselves to experimentation and imaginative flavor combinations.  Balance is vital, with each ingredient complementing the others.  How to build your own bowl:

Choose a base:
sushi rice, brown rice, black rice, cauliflower rice, quinoa, soba noodles, zoodles, leafy greens, etc.
Add a protein:
raw Sashimi-grade tuna or salmon, smoked salmon, tofu, tinned tuna, cooked fish, cooked chicken, cooked beef, cooked seafood, e.g. prawns, etc.
Add prepared vegetables:
steamed or cooked asparagus, avocado, baby marrow, baby spinach, bean sprouts, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, fresh or dried chilli, cucumber, edamame beans, gherkins, green beans, mushrooms, onion, pumpkin or butternut, pickled ginger, radishes, spring onions, sugar snap peas, sweet pepper, tomatoes, etc.
Add fruit:
blueberries, dragon fruit, mango, melon, orange, pineapple, plums, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, etc.
Add a sauce or dressing:
mayonnaise, soy sauce, sweet soy sauce (Indomex), Tahini, Sweet Thai Chilli Sauce, Sriracha, wasabi, etc.
Add toppings: caviar, chia seeds, flaked almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, shredded Nori, sesame seeds (white or black), etc.
Add garnishes:
edible flowers, fresh herbs, e.g. basil, chives, coriander, micro herbs, etc.

If you are wondering where to satisfy your poke bowl cravings in South Africa, click here.    Ready to bring some aloha to your next meal?  Click here for poke bowl recipes.  Better yet, book a culinary lesson for yourself or a group of friends and learn first hand how to create  drool-worthy meals.

The poke bowl pictured at the top of the post consists of a baby marrow noodle aka zoodle base, julienned carrots, yellow and red sweet pepper, mushrooms, purple cabbage and peppadews.  It is topped with pan-fried duck sausage (Woolworths), Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce and micro herbs.

Below is a poke bowl with a red quinoa base, topped with julienned carrots, mango, red onion, red sweet pepper, mushrooms, spring onion and pickled ginger.  It is topped with tinned tuna, mayo and micro herbs.

The poke bowl below has a base of leftover spaghetti, topped with avo, grated carrots, dragon fruit, cooked beetroot, celery and stir-fried red onion rings.  It is topped with smoked snoek, basil and a drizzling of olive oil.

Below is a poke bowl with a base of steamed sushi rice, topped with carrot, cucumber, spring onion, radish, mango, red sweet pepper, babymarrow, pineapple and butternut.  It is topped with sashimi-grade salmon, mayo, sesame seeds and coriander leaves.