When it comes to takeout, poke bowls—the now-trendy Hawaiian dish centered on marinated raw fish—are one of my go-to options for a fresh, healthy and satisfying meal. But as easy as it is to place an order and have someone else do the work, I had the sneaking suspicion that they wouldn’t be that much more difficult to prepare at home.
True enough! To be honest, recreating a classic tuna poke was even easier than I’d hoped. As long as you have access to fresh, sushi-grade fish, you have a fast meal with a choose-your-own-adventure flair, as you can vary the toppings in countless ways.
For this recipe, I chose seaweed salad (which you can find in the prepared foods section of gourmet grocery stores and Asian specialty markets) and sliced radishes as toppings; you can also put out extra pickled ginger and green onions, used to flavor the tuna mixture, on the side. Options like edamame, shredded carrots, cucumbers, avocado, crispy onions, sprouts or mung beans also make great toppings. (If you're entertaining, pick a few to create a poke bowl bar.) For an extra embellishment, mix a little hot sauce or chile pepper (or togarashi, the Japanese powdered chile-spice mix) in with some mayonnaise to serve on the side as well.
From prior experience with takeout versions, I know that Riesling and fruitier styles of Sauvignon Blanc can make delicious pairings with a wide range of poke bowls, so I used this occasion to explore other options. I chose a Grüner Veltliner from the Wachau in Austria for its peppery green notes and a Picpoul de Pinet from the Languedoc in southern France. Picpoul has colloquially become known as the “lip-stinger” (though possibly the name references a place with a peak where the variety was planted), and I figured its bracing acidity would make an interesting alternative to the usual-suspect vibrant whites.
Both wines made great matches. The Grüner Veltliner tended toward the savory end of the spectrum and worked very well with the seaweed, onions and radishes, heightening the peppery aspect of the latter. The Picpoul was brighter and more citrus-driven, with hints of flowers and herbs and a lightly creamy texture that all came together to elevate the dish as a whole.
Spicy Tuna Poke Bowl
Pair with a high-acid white such as Les Costières de Pomerols Picpoul de Pinet 2016 (87 points, $10). As an alternative, try a savory Grüner Veltliner such as Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Trocken Wachau Terrassen 2016 (88 points, $17).
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Approximate food costs: $33
- 1 to 1 1/4 pounds sushi-grade ahi tuna (or salmon), cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/8 to 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- Generous pinch of dried chile powder, such as togarashi or cayenne, to taste
- 1 teaspoon grated pickled ginger, plus more for garnish, if desired
- 1 tablespoon chopped green onions, plus more for garnish, if desired
- 1 cup sushi rice
- 1 cup prepared seaweed salad
- 1 cup sliced radishes (or other garnish of your choice)
- Furikake (a dry Japanese seasoning) or sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
1. Combine the tuna, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. In a separate bowl, combine the mayonnaise, chile pepper and ginger. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Toss the tuna with the mayonnaise mixture and the tablespoon of green onions. Let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.
2. Rinse the rice under running water. In a pot, combine the cup of rice with 1 1/4 cup of water (or the amount specified on the package instructions). Bring the water to a boil, then cover the pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, then let stand for 10 minutes or until the rice has absorbed all the water.
3. Divide the rice among four bowls. Top each with some chilled tuna mixture, seaweed salad, sliced radishes and any additional garnishes. If any sauce has collected at the bottom of the bowl of tuna, spoon it over the rice. Serves 4.