Ahi Poke Bowl with Garlic Miso Sauce

Everyone has a food that hits them right in the heart; something that inspires a warm smile to form on their face. For me, that food is Poke, and it brings me great joy to share this recipe with you this week. You can expect a full meal of seasoned cubed raw fish (like sashimi) on rice. The seasoning is savory and salty with a bit of a kick to it.

Background

The word Poke (pronounced “poh-kay”) is of Hawaiian origin, meaning “to cut crosswise into pieces.” Given that the main ingredient is cubed raw fish, it’s a pretty fitting name. This dish has fully Hawaiian origins, having been made by native Hawaiians well before anyone else even knew that there were islands in the middle of the Pacific. When plantation workers started arriving on the islands, they embraced the dish and started making different seasonings for it.

Today, you can find Poke made with ahi, salmon, octopus and pretty much any other edible thing from the sea. If you go to a grocery store in Hawaii, there are an overwhelming amount of options for seasonings too.

Just your average Poke section in Hawaii. (http://gastronomyblog.com/2015/02/11/best-poke-honolulu/)

About this Recipe

The fun part about making your own Poke is that you can play around with your own seasonings. There are plenty of traditional recipes out there on the internet, which is why I’m sharing a unique combination that my Mom and I discovered.

This dish use cubed ahi and a garlic miso dipping sauce for the seasoning. The sauce is from the book The Japanese Grill. It’s less than $15 on Amazon and highly recommended if you enjoy grilling, or even just staring at beautiful pictures of food.

Buying the Fish

This is the hardest but most important part. Find the freshest Ahi you can, ideally from your local fish market. Ask for something that’s sushi or sashimi grade. Specialty stores like local Asian food markets, Whole Foods & Trader Joe’s usually stock good quality fish too. Look for cuts with a bright, deep red color and minimal amounts of connective tissue. The fish should smell fresh, meaning that it’s missing most of that “fishy” smell that is typically associated with seafood.

An example of a perfect Ahi filet. It’s alright if yours it a bit darker. (http://www.lakegenevacountrymeats.com/recipes/grilled-ahi-tuna-honey-soy-sauce)

Ingredients

Makes enough for about three people, or two if you’re really hungry.

~1oz Ahi Tuna Fillet
Rice
Soy Sauce
Furikake* (optional but recommended)

Sauce:
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup red miso
1/4 cup green onions
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toban djan/doubanjiang**

*Furikake is a Japanese rice seasoning made mainly with seaweed, sesame seeds and salt. Can be bought online and pairs well with soy sauce.

**The toban djan is a Chinese chili bean sauce. You should be able to find it in your average Asian grocery store or on Amazon.

Preparation

Wash and start cooking a pot of about two cups of rice. Grab a bowl and a cutting board and start cubing the fish. Try to go for bite-size pieces between 1/2 and 1 inch.

If they look like Minecraft blocks, you’re doing it right.

Cut the green onions into rings and finely chop/smash the garlic. Once that’s finished, mix all the ingredients for the sauce together in a separate bowl. Combine the fish and the sauce together and stir until the sauce is evenly distributed. Feel free to add more toban djan if you like hot stuff. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes — we want the fish to be cold to provide contrast with the hot rice. This also gives the fish a chance to marinate in the sauce.

Take the Poke out of the fridge and start preparing the bowls of rice. Make sure the rice is still hot, it’s much better that way. Drizzle lightly with soy sauce & top off with a nice dusting of furikake.

Scoop the Poke onto the rice and dig in! Feel like a chef yet? I’m starting to.

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