So, what is poke (pronounced POH-keh)? Basically? Hawaiian tartare. Food isn't rocket science, people. But it seems that poke is having it's 15 minutes right now. Birmingham just opened a new restaurant, Ono Poke, in the newly renovated Pizitz Food Hall downtown. And because it's my current food obsession, I had hubs bring dinner home from there the other night. And although it had a mayo based sauce which I like to avoid, it was delish (admittedly, quite possibly because of that mayo sauce!).
So I decided to make my own. How hard can it be? A little research determined not hard at all. I also discovered that these are supremely customizable.
I found a pretty straightforward recipe that closely resembled my tuna tartare recipe so I went with that.....raw yellow fin tuna, avacado, cucumber, toasted sesame seeds piled on top of a bed of grains with thinly sliced kale.
Here's where it gets fun.....next time I might add some blanched edamame and some sliced jalapenos, or maybe a handful of golden raisins and slivered almonds or toasted pepitas. Or if you're feeling a little Hawaiian.....macadamia nuts! Feel free to switch out your protein too......sushi grade salmon or even some cooked shrimp. I used quinoa this time but nutty brown rice would be delicious. If you've got leftover rice from your Chinese take out, use that shit! Or serve the poke as an appetizer and leave the grains out altogether to lighten it up.
Here's the recipe (based on myrecipes.com)
2 cups hot cooked quinoa
1 cup very thinly sliced kale (stems removed)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar, divided
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tsp Sriracha chili sauce or red pepper flakes (I like things spicy....adjust to your liking)
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 pound raw sushi-grade yellow fin (or ahi) cut into small cubes
3/4 cup cubed seeded peeled cucumber
1 small avocado, peeled and diced
1 green onion, thinly sliced (white and green part)
1 1/2 tablespoon white sesame seeds, lightly toasted
Combine quinoa, kale, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar and salt in a bowl. Toss to coat.
Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha, ginger and remaining 1 tablespoon rice vinegar in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add tuna, cucumber, avocado, and green onion; toss gently to coat.
Divide rice between serving bowls, Top with tuna mixture. Sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
And if you're into a mayo based sauce....mix 1/4 cup mayo with 1 tsp hot chili paste (sambal oelek) and drizzle on top of your finished bowl.