Tuna Poke Bowl

published Jun 23, 2024
Poke Bowl Recipe

Meet your new favorite summer dinner.

Serves4

Prep30 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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overhead shot of a constructed poke bowl, with tuna, edamame, fried wontons, cucumber, kani and avocado
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Spencer Richards

Poke bowls may seem like something you need to purchase from a trained professional, but they’re actually extremely easy to put together at home (and are so much easier than rolling sushi). The star of these bowls is poke, a marinated seafood salad popularized in Hawaii. It’s often made with raw fish, but not always. And while Hawaii is no stranger to a donburi-style rice bowl, it’s not typically how you’ll find poke served. (Although there are always exceptions!) 

Poke is generally served with rice, not on it. You’ll often have a few variations of it served together. Sometimes just a couple of flavors at home for an easy meal, or as a full spread of pupus (appetizers) at a potluck party. While easy enough to make at home, it’s even easier to walk into any deli section at a grocery store and purchase it by the pound. You’ll find all kinds of varieties, from limu to kimchee. Shoyu poke, with its marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil, ground nuts, and onion, is one of the most popular versions. It’s an integral part of both special-occasion get-togethers and everyday life. 

Poke bowls are a mainland creation. The fish is a smaller component of the overall dish. The signature of a poke bowl is the variety and amount of toppings. Poke bowls are an easy and adaptable way to make a meal for a variety of taste preferences. It’s one of my favorite summer dinners. It dirties only a few dishes and is super quick to put together. 

Why You’ll Love Tuna Poke Bowls

  • It’s not any more difficult than making a salad. Just pile a bowl of hot rice with marinated raw fish and lots of toppings for major flavor and texture. If you have a rice cooker, you don’t even have to turn on the stove — it’s the perfect hot-weather meal. 
  • It’s endlessly versatile. I include toppings and optional garnishes in my recipe below, but poke bowls are super adaptable. You can pretty much throw anything on top and call it a meal. 
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Spencer Richards

Key Ingredients in Tuna Poke Bowl

This recipe strikes a balance between island and mainland styles. 

  • Raw tuna: This recipe calls for raw ahi, which is the Hawaiian word for tuna. You may also see it labeled as yellowfin tuna or maguro in the store. They’re just the Hawaiian, English, and Japanese words for the same things. Many stores will label it as “sushi grade,” but that’s a marketing term rather than a regulated indicator of quality or safety. Your best bet is to let the fish counter know you’re planning on eating it raw, and they can direct you to the freshest options they have on hand.
  • Yuzu kosho: A little bit of this popular Japanese condiment adds some zesty heat to the tuna. 
  • Toppings: For this, I looked to another mainland favorite: the California roll. Sweet surimi, crisp cucumber, creamy avocado, and buttery edamame provide complementary flavors without pushing it over the top. A drizzle of Sriracha mayo brings it all together. 

How to Make Tuna Poke Bowl

Once your fish is purchased, all you have to do is the following:

  1. Cube the tuna and toss it with the marinade. Marinate it for a bit while you prep the other toppings. It’s long enough for the fish to pick up flavor without altering the texture of the fish. 
  2. Stir together the Sriracha mayo. It’s the most delicious 2-ingredient topping. 
  3. Prepare your other toppings. You’ll need edamame, cucumber, surimi (imitation), and a ripe avocado. 
  4. Build your poke bowls. Fill a bowl with hot cooked rice and top with the poke and toppings, and drizzle with the Sriracha mayo.

Helpful Swaps

  • If you can’t find or don’t want to purchase ahi, salmon and tofu are great accessible substitutions. In addition to being easy to find, they are more sustainable options. 
  • Mixed greens can be swapped in for some or all of the rice for a less carb-heavy meal.
  • Feel free to play around with the toppings depending on what you have on hand or what sounds good to you. Here are some more suggestions: grated carrots, ground macadamia nuts, chili crisp, corn kernels, fried shallots or garlic chips, sliced jalapeños, and ikura or masago.

Storage And Make-Ahead Tips

Poke can certainly be made hours ahead and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve — it’s actually how it’s traditionally made. The level of salt can impact the texture compared to mixing the fish right before serving. Leftover poke can be stored for one day in the refrigerator. 

What to Serve with Tuna Poke Bowl

Poke bowls are a meal in a bowl and don’t need to be served with much else. But having extra garnishes and Sriracha mayo nearby while eating never hurts!

Poke Bowl Recipe

Meet your new favorite summer dinner.

Prep time 30 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the poke:

  • 2 tablespoons

    soy sauce or tamari

  • 2 teaspoons

    toasted sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    sesame seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    yuzu kosho

  • 1/8

    medium sweet onion

  • 1

    large scallion

  • 1 pound

    high-quality raw yellowfin tuna

For the poke bowls:

  • 1/4 cup

    mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons

    Sriracha hot sauce

  • 1 cup

    frozen shelled edamame

  • 1/4

    medium English cucumber

  • 4 ounces

    surimi (imitation crab)

  • 1

    ripe large avocado

  • 4 cups

    hot cooked short grain rice

  • Optional garnishes: Nori strips, furikake, togarashi powder, pickled ginger, prepared seaweed salad, wasabi, scallions, fried wonton strips

Instructions

Make the poke:

  1. Place 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon yuzu kosho in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to the bowl of sauce as you complete it: Thinly slice 1/8 medium sweet onion from pole to pole (about 1/3 cup). Finely chop 1 large scallion (scant 1/3 cup). Cut 1 pound yellowfin tuna into 1/2-inch cubes. Mix gently to combine. Let sit while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Make the poke bowls:

  1. Place 1/4 cup mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons Sriracha in a small bowl and stir to combine.

  2. Place 1 cup frozen shelled edamame in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave until thawed, about 45 seconds. (Alternatively, place in a strainer and run under warm water to thaw.) Dice 1/4 medium English cucumber (about 1/3 cup). Shred 4 ounces surimi with your hands (about 1/2 cup). Halve, pit, and dice 1 ripe large avocado.

  3. Stir the poke again. Divide 4 cups hot cooked rice between 4 bowls, preferably wide and shallow. Divide the edamame, cucumber, surimi, avocado, and poke between the bowls, arranging them in piles. Drizzle with the Sriracha mayo and top with garnishes as desired.

Recipe Notes

Substitutions: Raw salmon, firm tofu, or small cooked shrimp can be substituted for the tuna.