DIY Ahi Tuna Poke Bowls
What is poke?
Pronounced poh-KAY, poke means “chunk” in Hawaiian and is a traditional Hawaiian dish of raw fish cut into cubes and marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, and onions that really enhances the beautiful flavor of fresh fish.
If you like raw seafood dishes such as ceviche or sushi, you will love this simple and customizable recipe. Poke is light and refreshing and perfect for enjoying in the summer. Build your own bowl with a base, sauce, and any toppings you like. The options are limitless.
How is poke prepared?
Fresh ahi tuna is cut into small, bite-sized cubes and marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, and onions. It’s as simple as that!
How is poke served?
Poke can be served as a first course or main course. It is most often served over warm rice as a poke bowl. While toppings are traditionally mixed in, they are more popularly placed on top of the bowl in colorful sections. With their rising popularity, unexpected ingredients have been added to poke bowls, such as mango and even corn. Poke bowls can really burst with flavor and textures.
To delight your guests with an unexpected spread, try a fun taco bar alternative: a DIY poke bowl bar. Set out a big bowl of rice, a big bowl of marinated ahi poke, and individual bowls of toppings. Your guests can customize their own bowl to their personal preferences.
For a more gourmet presentation, serve your poke in a stack using a round one-cup measuring cup or ring mold.
What toppings can you put on poke?
- Cucumber, sliced or diced
- Radish, thinly sliced
- Carrots, julienned or shredded
- Tomato, cubed
- Avocado, sliced or cubed
- Edamame (soybeans), shelled and salted
- Microgreens or sprouts
- Cabbage, shredded
- Mango, cubed
- Pineapple, cubed
- Red chili pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- Red pepper flakes
- Jalapeño, thinly sliced
- Wasabi (Japanese horseradish)
- Chili-garlic sauce
- Spicy mayo sauce
- Toasted macadamia nuts, finely chopped
- Black and white sesame seeds
- Furikake (Japanese sesame seed and seaweed rice seasoning)
- Fried wonton strips
- Fried onion
- Seaweed salad
- Nori (dried seaweed)
- Fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- Pickled sushi ginger
- Kimchi (Korean fermented vegetables)
- Scallions (green onions), finely chopped
DIY Ahi Tuna Poke Bowls
First Course / Main Course / Seafood
- 1 lb ahi tuna steaks
- 1/3 cup soy sauce (For gluten-free, paleo and Whole30-approved recipes, substitute soy sauce with coconut aminos)
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/3 cup sweet yellow onion or green onions (scallions), thinly sliced + extra for serving
- 2-3 servings of sushi rice (short-grain Japanese rice, rice vinegar, sugar, water, salt)
- Sesame seeds
- Optional: vegetable, tropical fruit, seaweed, chilli peppers, nut and seed toppings + 4:1 spicy mayonnaise-sriracha cream sauce
- Pat fish dry with a paper towel and using a sharp knife, cut fish into bite-sized, ½-¾-inch cubes.
- Mince sweet yellow onion or thinly slice green onion. Mix with soy sauce and sesame oil. For extra flavor, add a small amount of grated ginger or garlic, a pinch of crushed red pepper, a dash of sriracha, or a splash of lime or orange juice.
- Gently toss the cubed ahi in the sauce to ensure all of the fish is coated before marinating.
- Marinate for 2 hours before serving so the flavors really permeate the fish, though you can also enjoy it after only 15 minutes of marinating.
- While the ahi is marinating, rinse the rice in a strainer until no more starch comes out and the water runs clear. Optional: soak rice in water for 30 minutes before cooking for improved texture. Use the rice settings on an electric rice cooker or Instant Pot to cook the rice. Cook sushi rice until sticky, yet fluffy, but not mushy.
- Fill your bowl with warm rice, place a serving of fresh, chilled poke on top, and dress with vegetables, tropical fruit, seaweed, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Optional: For a spicy tuna poke bowl, make a 4:1 mixture of mayonnaise and sriracha with a splash of lime juice to drizzle on top.