The first sign I saw was when at least four Portland restaurants of all budget ranges had poke bowls on the menu.
Then, poke made it to the January cover of Bon Appetit (the best issue of the year every year, in my opinion).
It is safe to say, the poke craze has hit the continental US. So what is it? (By the way it’s pronounced “po-kay”) Poke is a raw fish salad that Hawaiians have been making for centuries, even if they didn’t call it by the specific name of “poke” at the beginning (Check out this great article about it in Honolulu magazine – from 6 years ago!). Hawaii is a vastly multicultural place, and each cultural group and even each family had their own special version. So there are Hawaiian interpretations, Japanese interpretations and more. Tuna seems to be the most traditional main ingredient, but there are versions out there that use salmon, shrimp or even tofu.
From the first time I tried it, I knew I had a new favorite food on my hands. First of all, I will take any excuse to eat raw seafood. For poke, raw fish is cut into cubes and tossed with ingredients that often are inspired by whomever’s cultural background the poke is being made in. Common ingredients include soy sauce, sesame oil and scallions. It’s served over rice and under all manner of delicious toppings – pickles, seaweed, herbs, hot sauce — this is the part where people get the most creative.
For my part, when I decided to make some for lunch I wanted to make a simple version. I stuck to basic ingredients (except the sushi grade salmon, of course 🙂 ). It’s not the first time I’ve enjoyed a bowl of poke, and it will most definitely not be the last time. But I wanted to share a quick an easy way to make it at home! I am not an expert, and I would encourage you to read the article I linked above to get a real expert’s view on the dish and how to make it.