What Is A Poke Bowl And How Do I Make One?
The Debrief: The Hawaiian ahi bowl (aka the poke bowl) is taking over. Here's your need to know.
You might have noticed the word 'poke' floating around health food blogs over the past few years. Wondering what it is? Well, it's a raw fish bowl and a food trend that you're absolutely going to eat several tons of before the summer is out.
We spoke to Guy, one half of London's Eat Poke (coming to a street food festival near you soon) who says that this Hawaiian originating, Los Angeles germinating health dish is about to take off here in a big old way.
'It used to be that if you asked the average person in the street if they want a poke and you'd get some funny looks!' He jokes. 'But once people have it, they're hooked.'
The trend really took off in (where else?) LA where there's now hundreds of places to get hold of the raw fish dish. 'I think they're more aware of health and what they're putting in their bodies.' Says Guy. 'But I think London definitely has a similar spirit where people are more aware of what they want to be eating now.'
So what is a poke bowl?
It's essentially a raw fish salad. Or 'deconstructed sushi' if you will (and if you won't that's fine).
So, what's in one? Well. The main ingredient is the fish. Usually it's 'ahi' - a tuna fish (think more tuna meat and less tuna in a can) but other fishies can also be used.
'It's basically raw cubed fish.' Guy says. 'In it's purest Hawaiian style, it's with Hawaiian salt which is a bit coarser and then seaweed. They also put rice with it. We have it a bit more LA style and add salads and pickles.'
Getting hold of the fish could be a bit of a bother but Guy recommends using your local fishmonger. 'We've played around with mackerel, it's really beautiful and I think people are quite comfortable with mackerel. We also use bass and bream. The only thing with them is that you don't get as bigger chunks that you do with salmon or tuna.'
If you're struggling to get hold of any of the fish in your local Londis (understandable), this vegan blogger makes it out of beetroot instead.
Also it needs rice. And a bunch of different veggies like avocados, shallots, edamame beans, seaweed... And, it all need to be seasoned and marinated with yum delicious Asian flavours like sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, chilli and the like.
Where can I get me some poke?
From what it sounds like in LA, the streets are lined with poke. If you're planning a trip over there, Poke Me (just two months old, already the top of Yelp - what is it with Americans and Yelp?) is where it's at.
If you're stuck in the UK though, don't despair. Eat Poke, sells it's wares at the various Kerb Street Food Markets around the capital. Also, they wear very funny t-shirts that say 'fancy a poke' on them. Which is plus 10 points in our book. There's also Pond in Dalston which specialises in Hawaiian food. Out of London, we're struggling a bit at the moment....
How do you pronounce poke?
Not 'poke' as in like a Facebook poke. No, instead you pronnounce it po-KEH. It means 'to slice' or 'to cut'.
Are poke bowls healthy?
File under 'is the pope a Catholic' and 'will Harry Styles one day be my future husband?' and other stupid questions. Yes. Of course it is. Ahi's got a bonkers amount of protein in it. There's also a whole bunch of vitamins; from D and C, iron, zinc, folate, magnesium, potasium... the list goes on.
'With the fish you've got loads of omega oils too.' Says Guy.'We serve black rice too because white rice is a bit too overprocessed. Black rice has loads of antioxidants in. It's a goo dmix of protein, carbs and salads too. Everything is all fresh. It's really important that it looks and tastes fresh.'
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