If you’ve fallen in love with poke bowls, you’re going to be delighted to learn that you can make this delicious and healthy treat at home. This recipe is full of goodness, including marinated ahi tuna poke, brown rice, vegetables, and salad.
Do you love sushi? If so, you’ll adore poke bowls. Poke first started getting noticed by many people on trips to Hawaii. The seafood is freshly caught, and the ahi tuna is similar to what you would find in a sushi restaurant.
For this recipe, the fish is marinated in vinegar and soy-based sauce. Then, the cubed fish is tossed with delicious ingredients that add some spiciness.
What Is a Poke Bowl?
This poke (pronounced po-kay) bowl recipe is inspired by Japanese and Hawaiian cuisines, and it’s made with short-grain rice, diced fresh fish, and delicious fillings that can include avocados, radishes, cucumbers, and more.
While popular in the islands, poke bowls have become super trendy in the U.S. Besides being delicious, they’re full of beneficial nutrients, so what’s not to love? If you go to a poke restaurant, you can watch chefs assemble your bowls. Well, thanks to this easy recipe, you can also make your own in the comfort of your own kitchen. It will quickly become one of your favorite seafood recipes.
Where to Buy Sushi-Grade Ahi Tuna
Most specialty supermarkets sell sushi grade tuna steaks. You can ask the people working in the fish department to guide you, and they usually know what they’re doing. Be sure to ask them if the ahi tuna you’re buying is safe to eat raw and is sushi grade fish.
In some areas, there are lots of Asian food markets, and these are usually great sources for sushi-grade ahi tuna, sockeye salmon, yellowtail fish, albacore, and more. While you’re there, pick up some of the other hard-to-find ingredients for your meals.
You can’t buy regular ahi tuna and serve it raw. Sushi-grade ahi tuna has been prepared using a special freezing technology that kills bacteria and toxins. For a fish to be considered sushi-grade, it has to be frozen at very low temperatures for specific periods of time. This will kill the parasites in the fish.
The FDA Food Code specifically states that fish that will be eaten raw should be frozen for a full seven days at a temperature of -4 degrees Fahrenheit. Another FDA-accepted technique is raw fish that is frozen for at least 15 hours at -31 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ordering Sushi-Grade Ahi Tuna Online
If you can’t find your fish at a local market, you can also order sushi-grade fish online. Companies such as the Seattle Fish Company, Catalina Offshore Products, and Honolulu Fish Company all offer home delivery of frozen sushi-grade fish.
When you order fish online, be sure to order from reputable companies that guarantee their products. Reading reviews online can help you find the perfect sushi-grade fish for your poke bowls.
Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl Ingredients
When it comes to what ingredients to put into your poke bowls, the sky is the limit. For this spicy tuna poke bowl recipe, we use these ingredients for the sauce: rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper flakes.
For the veggies, we love to make our ahi tuna poke recipe with hearty brown rice, leafy salad greens, and sliced green onions. You can also add some diced avocado, pickled ginger, crunchy shredded carrots, and cucumber slices to your poke bowl. If you love cucumbers, this recipe is perfect with a pickled cucumber salad.
For this poke recipe, we like to add some Japanese seven spice (togarashi). This spice adds a nice umami flavor to the poke bowl, and it has just the right amount of kick. In addition to the leafy salad greens, some nori (chopped seaweed) adds some wonderful texture.
Make Your Poke Sauce
The sauce (marinade) for our ahi tuna poke bowl recipe is made with rice vinegar, soy sauce, spicy red pepper flakes, and sesame oil. These ingredients give you a spicy sauce that’s also savory, slightly sweet, and delightfully tangy.
With ingredients such as red pepper flakes and sesame oil, the ahi tuna will be infused with the perfect amount of flavor.
Want to change things up a bit? You can make the sauce creamy by adding a little spicy mayo or plain Greek yogurt. For even more spice, try some sriracha sauce. You can even make your own spicy mayo quickly and easily with mayonnaise and sriracha sauce. We’ve also seen mustard added to poke bowls. You can get as creative as you want to get.
How to Make Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl
The first thing you need to do when preparing your ahi tuna poke bowl is cut your tuna into cubes. Be sure they’re uniform in size, and they should be bite-sized for easy eating. Cubes about 3/4-inch in size are the perfect size for poke bowls. Once you’ve cut up your tuna, set it aside.
Next, make your marinade. The marinade ingredients are soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, crushed red pepper flakes, and sliced green onions. Put all of these ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Add your ahi tuna cubes to the bowl.
While your tuna is marinating, you can make your rice. You can cook the rice in a rice cooker, an Instant Pot, or on the stovetop. If you make it on the stovetop, use 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water. If you want to rinse your rice first, you can do that. Bring the rice and water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the rice to simmer until all of the water is absorbed.
Once your rice is cooked, pull together the rest of your ingredients. This can be your salad greens, avocado slices, and more.
Making Rice for a Poke Bowl
We love basmati rice, but for poke bowls, it’s better to use short-grain rice. This can be white rice, but we find the heartiness of whole-grain brown rice to be super satisfying. Is sushi rice or steamed rice more your thing? Go for it if that’s what you like! Looking for a low-carb option? Consider cauliflower rice.
To make your rice, you can use a rice cooker, an Instant Pot, or make your rice the traditional way on the stovetop. Make your rice following the package directions, or use these guidelines.
- Generally, if you cook rice on the stovetop, use a 1-to-2 ratio: 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water.
- If you make rice in the Instant Pot, use a 1-to-1 ratio: 1 cup of rice to 1 cup of water.
The secret to making the perfect brown rice for your poke bowls is to avoid overcooking the rice. Also, you don’t want it to become overly dry. Poke bowl rice should be nice and warm but not steaming hot out of the pot.
Once you’ve cooked your rice for your poke bowls, let it sit on the countertop for about 10 minutes so that it cools slightly.
Cold rice is much too hard for poke bowls, but you can make your rice the night before and reheat it. To reheat rice in the microwave, add about a teaspoon of water to a bowl of rice. This will keep the rice from becoming tough. Tender rice for the win!
Customize Your Ahi Poke Bowl
One of the most amazing things about making poke bowls is their versatility. You can customize a poke bowl almost any way you want, and using your favorite toppings and ingredients, you can create a unique poke bowl recipe of your very own.
Use any of these delicious additions to make your poke bowl a healthy lunch meal or a light main dish for dinner.
- Pickled cucumbers
- Avocado chunks or slices
- Cabbage or coleslaw mix
- Edamame beans
- Finely chopped kale
- Blanched spinach
- Pickled vegetables
- Sliced spring onion
- Thin radish slices
- Sliced or cubed cucumbers
- Japanese pickled ginger
- Toasted sesame seeds
Do you want something besides fresh ahi tuna for your poke bowl? You can add cooked shrimp if you don’t like raw food. Another alternative is to use cubes of tofu to make your poke bowl.
You can also use lime juice instead of vinegar.
Make-Ahead Poke Bowls
If you want to make your poke bowls in advance, you can prepare your rice and sauce the day before you plan to assemble your poke bowls. Raw fish is best if it’s prepared and marinated the day you’re planning to serve it.
While poke bowls are at their most delicious when eaten fresh, you can store leftovers for a day in the refrigerator. Be sure to put your leftover poke bowl ingredients in airtight containers and plan to eat them within a day.
As the fresh tuna sits in the vinegar that makes up the marinade, it will slowly cook. Because of this, the ahi tuna will have a slightly different texture the next day.
Poke Bowls with Ahi Tuna
- 2-3 quart Saucepan
- 1 lb. sushi grade ahi tuna
- 1 tsp. rice vinegar rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions green onion
- 3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds and more for garnishing
- 2 cups leafy salad greens
- 2 cups cooked brown rice or white rice
- Nori seaweed salad optional
- Japanese seven spice togarashi
- Prepare the Rice: First, wash the rice in the sink under running water. Then, cook the brown rice according to the instructions on the package.
- Cut up the Ahi Tuna: Cut the ahi tuna into 3/4 inch cubes.
- Prepare the Sauce: Combine the rice vinegar, soy sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and green onion in a medium bowl.
- Combine the Sauce and Ahi Tuna: Combine the ahi tuna and sauce in a bowl.
- Serve: You can serve your ahi tuna poke bowls immediately or refrigerate them for up to 2 hours. If you refrigerate them, be sure to cover them with plastic wrap or store them in an airtight container.
- Enjoy: Add salad greens, cooked brown rice, fish and sauce, and other toppings to a bowl. Garnish with sesame seed sprinkles.