The old saying ‘you eat with your eyes’, couldn’t be more true, especially in the last few years where ‘Instagrammable food’ has become one of the key things to consider when planning a menu. Food can’t just taste great anymore, it has to look great too. It’s got to be colourful and well presented. This is probably one of the reasons why poke bowls have become so popular.
The Hawaiian delicacy is fresh, vibrant, delicious, and incredibly versatile. A traditional poke bowl consists of white rice topped with raw fish and usually raw vegetables too. But in the time it has taken the popular food to get from one side of the world to the other, it’s evolved in many ways, which means chefs can get creative.
Don’t want rice? Swap it for salad, zoodles (zucchini noodles), or another grain like quinoa. Don’t feel comfortable serving raw fish, serve it cooked or swap it for prawns, chicken, steak or tofu for a vegan option. Keep it vibrant with raw carrot, spring onions, edamame beans, avocado, radishes, mango, tomatoes, cucumber and shredded cabbage – the possibilities are endless.
One thing that is non-negotiable though is the sauce or marinade. It should be salty, sweet and acidic all at the same time. A poke marinade is usually made from a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil, then there’s usually a little spice in there too like red pepper flakes or gochugaru (Korean chilli pepper). Recipes vary but usually the fish, meat or tofu is marinated in this, then additional soy sauce, lime wedge or similar is served on the side.
You’re probably thinking, what’s so ‘Instagrammable’ about that? Well, it all comes down to the presentation. Poke bowls are a form of art. Rice (or your chosen base) goes at the bottom, then each ingredient is placed on top of the rice in its own section.
5 Poke Bowl Recipes
Here’s a few poke bowl ideas for you. Remember you can swap out the base or protein, depending on a person’s dietary requirements. They’re also really easy to prep ahead of time as they’re generally served cold – perfect for a busy service!
Chicken Poke Bowl
Shredded marinated chicken, rice, sweetcorn, red peppers, carrot, sunflower seeds.
Salmon Poke Bowl
Cucumber, carrot, edamame, cabbage, radish, rice, raw salmon, black sesame seeds and spring onion.
Tofu Poke Bowl
Marinated tofu, avocado, edamame, tomato, rice, cucumber, mango, black sesame seeds.
Baked Salmon Poke Bowl
Shredded cooked salmon, quinoa, cabbage, edamame, spring onion, mango.
Prawn Poke Bowl
Cooked prawns, mango, rice, cucumber, radish, avocado, tomato, seaweed and black sesame seeds.