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How to Build Your Own Poké Bowl

Poké first began in Hawaii, based on a dish made from freshly caught fish massaged with sea salt, seaweed and inamona (crushed kukui nuts). Poké later evolved, taking on flavours from China and Japan that saw the addition of soy sauce and sesame oil to the dish. The modern-day poké bowl is now a culinary melting pot, but the 'traditional' dish consists of raw marinated fish sliced or cut into even size pieces, tossed over fragrant rice, accompanied by a mix of raw and cooked vegetables and then drizzled with a flavoursome dressing. Ahi limu (seaweed), ahi poké, shrimp, spicy salmon, miso cod, dried beef - the possibilities are endless. We've put together our top tips and suggestions to help you build your own restaurant worthy poké bowl.

How to Build Your Own Poké Bowl

1. The Base

Whilst the base of a traditional poké bowl is almost always rice, we've come up with a few alternatives to keep you on your toes and ensure that you keep your meals exciting.

Sushi Rice: Sticky rice made with sugar and rice vinegar.

Couscous: Quick and easy, couscous is technically a form of pasta that cooks in as little as 5 minutes. Just add water!

Quinoa: With a slightly nutty aftertaste, quinoa is a grain-like seed that offers a boost of nutrients to your poké bowl.

Sweet Potato Mash: A rogue choice, but sweet potato mash offers a smoothy and creamy texture that makes the perfect base for soft fish and crunchy vegetables.

2. Protein

Poké bowls always feature some kind of protein - this makes the dish more satiating and acts as a vessel for flavourful marinades. Try spice rubs, sauces and dressings, leaving your meat, fish or vegan/vegetarian alternative to soak for a minimum of 2 hours (but overnight is best!).

Fish: Salmon and tuna are the most traditional poké bowl protein choices; these can be either raw or cooked. Other popular options include prawns and cod.

Meat: A far less common option, but beef, pork and chicken can all be used - it's worth noting that meat typically requires more time to marinate due to its stronger flavour.

Tofu: Containing all nine essential amino acids, tofu makes a perfect option for vegetarians and vegans alike. It is also a valuable plant source of iron, calcium, several minerals and vitamin B1.

Edamame: Edamame beans are whole, immature soybeans, rich in protein, fibre, manganese and folate.

3. Vegetables

The fresh element to a poké bowl is always the vegetables. This is a great dish to work towards your five a day as it gives you the opportunity to really diverse the produce you're eating. Plus, it's an easy way to use any groceries that you have left in the fridge at the end of the week that are starting to reach their best before date!

Greens: Broccoli, green beans, edamame, seaweed salad - rich in iron, vitamins and minerals, these green vegetables make the perfect addition to any poké bowl.

Grated Carrot: Grated carrot adds colour and crunch, plus it's a rich source in Vitamin A!

Red or White Cabbage: A common feature in Asian cooking, red or white cabbage can be eaten both raw and cooked. Simply shred and then add to your bowl.

Cucumber: Composed of about 96% water, cucumbers are effective at promoting hydration and offer a fresh element.

Tomatoes: Chop cherry tomatoes in half to add sweetness to your dish.

Avocado: Creamy avocado, rich in healthy unsaturated fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

4. Marinades, Dips and Sauces

No poké bowl is complete without a dip, sauce or marinade. These condiments pack a punch when it comes to flavour and will elevate your dish from a standard daily dinner to a real culinary treat. You can use whatever you have in the cupboard, your favourite herbs and spices, or some less typical additions if that's your thing.

Sesame Oil: One of the oldest crop-based oils, sesame seed oil is a flavour enhancer used in many cuisines, known for its distinctive nutty aroma and taste.

Soy Sauce: Derived from Chinese origin, soy sauce offers a strong umami, salty flavour to any marinade.

Honey/Agave Syrup: Liquid sweeteners not only bring sweetness, but also thicken marinades and dips.

Wasabi: Also known as Japanese Horseradish, Wasabi is a spicy paste that brings heat to your poké bowl.

Mayonnaise: Not a traditional option, but a fan favourite nevertheless!

Chilli or Ginger: Try adding fresh chilli or chopped ginger to your marinades, dips and sauces to add depth.

5. A Crispy Topping

A crispy topping is essential for the textural element of dish. Experiment with your choice of toppings, but we've put together some of our favourites below!

Nori: Sushi nori is a dried sheet of seaweed - crumble or cut into strips and add to your poké bowl.

Crispy Kale: Drizzle kale in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and then bake until crispy.

Fried Onions: Follow the same steps as those above for kale but used thin rings of onion or diced onion instead.

Toasted Sesame Seeds: A classic, sprinkle sesame seeds into a dry frying pan and toast until slightly charred or golden brown. These go perfectly with any source of protein!

To get you started...

We've created our own Poke Bowl recipe to help you get started (plus, a sushi rice recipe so you can get creative right from the word go)!

Tandoori Salmon Poké Bowl

Delicious tandoori marinated salmon on a bed of sticky sushi rice, served with a variety of...

Sushi Rice

A quick and easy method to make the perfect sushi rice, ideal for sushi rolls or poké bowls!

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