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Poke, What It Is, And How To Prepare It

Poke is a traditional Hawaiian dish meaning “to cut” or “to slice.” This dish has spread worldwide for its freshness and enveloping flavor. Composed of raw fish cut into cubes and marinated with a mixture of tasty condiments, it is possible to taste it in numerous variations today.

Poke, Origin, And History

The origins of Poke can be traced back to Hawaiian fishermen, who used freshly caught fish and cut it into pieces for immediate consumption. Poke was a quick and nutritious meal that could be made with ingredients readily available on the island, such as fresh fish, sea salt, seaweed, and other natural seasonings.

Over the following decades, Poke has undergone various cultural and culinary influences. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the arrival of Japanese immigrants in Hawaii helped influence how seafood was prepared and seasoned. Using ingredients such as soy sauce, sesame, and rice has enriched Poke’s flavor.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Poke began to gain popularity in Hawaii and among tourists and lovers of international cuisine. Hawaiian restaurants and local food markets have begun serving different variations of Poke, including various ingredients, from tuna and salmon to tofu and edamame. In recent decades, Poke has become a global culinary phenomenon, with specialty restaurants offering a variety of styles and ingredient combinations. Its freshness, versatility, and mix of bold flavors have made Poke a favorite dish worldwide. 

Hawaiian Poke

Hawaiian Poke involves marinated raw fish, traditionally prepared using ahi tuna or salmon, which are well suited to be eaten raw. The fish is cut into cubes and then left to marinate with a sauce prepared by mixing: soy sauce, sesame oil, green onion, sea salt, and chili pepper for a touch of spiciness. After the fish has been marinated, leafy greens, cucumber, red onion, and avocado are added, and the Poke is served on top of white rice or a lettuce leaf. Finally, sesame seeds and wakame seaweed are added for an extra touch of crunch. 

What Is A Poke Bowl?

” Bowl ” is an English word that means ” bowl ” or ” bowl. ” A poke bowl refers to a bowl-shaped container where the ingredients are arranged in a visually appealing way. Raw fish cut into cubes and marinated with soy sauce, sesame oil, and seaweed is placed on a base usually made of white rice. Raw vegetables of different colors, avocado, onion, edamame, and other condiments and sauces are added.

Basic Ingredients Of Poke

Let’s see in more detail what’s in a Poke bowl:

  1. Fish: Raw fish is the main element of the Poke. The most commonly used types of fish include tuna, salmon, sea bass, octopus, and shrimp.
  2. Rice: Rice is usually used as the base of the poke bowl. It can be white rice, brown rice, or even sushi rice.
  3. Vegetables: Various fresh vegetables can be added to the poke bowl for color, flavor, and crunch. Some standard options include cucumber, carrot, red onion, and tomato, often paired with avocado and edamame.
  4. Salsa: Raw fish is usually marinated or dressed with a sauce. Soy sauce, sesame oil, ponzu sauce, and sriracha sauce are some of Poke’s most commonly used spices.
  5. Seasonings: Seasonings such as chopped nori seaweed, sesame seeds, thinly sliced ​​green onion, and marinated seaweed are often added.
  6. Fruit: Sometimes, the fruit may add sweetness and contrast flavor. Pineapple, mango, and orange are examples of fruits often used in poke bowls.
  7. Nuts and seeds: To give crunchiness and a touch of extra flavor, cashews, sunflower seeds, or chia seeds can be added.
  8. Additional condiments: You can add spices such as wasabi, pickled ginger, or spiced mayonnaise.

The Marinade

Marinating involves immersing the fish in a flavoring concoction using ingredients such as soy sauce, sesame oil, grated ginger, minced garlic, and other seasonings of your choice, such as nori seaweed and chili peppers. Marinating helps to make the fish more tender by breaking down the muscle fibers, adding flavor to the dish, and making it easier to chew.

Nutritional Values ​​And Calories

The calories of Poke vary according to the ingredients contained within it. However, an average-sized poke bowl can provide from 400 to 800 calories, conveying on average:

  1. 20-40 grams of protein
  2. 30-60 grams of carbohydrates
  3. 10-30 grams of fat
  4. 5-10 grams of fiber 

Compose A Healthy Poke Bowl

The poke bowl is a balanced dish complete with all the nutrients.It conveys a source of complex carbohydrates such as rice, a good source of fiber by adding fresh fruit and vegetables, a source of good fat given by avocado and dried fruit, a protein source provided by fish or edamame, and from tofu.If you pay attention to the amount of sauces and sodium (mainly from soy sauce) added to the dish, Poke can be considered a healthy, balanced, and satisfying alternative for when you have lunch or dinner away from home. 

Types Of Pokes

Today it is possible to find many different types of Poke. We should see some of them in more detail.

Classic Poke

  1. Avocado 
  2. Other vegetables of your choice (such as cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, etc.)


  1. Cut the tuna into cubes and set aside in a bowl.
  2. In a little bowl, blend the soy sauce and sesame oil.
  3. Pour the marinade over the diced tuna and mix gently; leave the tuna to marinate in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.
  4. Cook the rice and, in the meantime, dedicate yourself to cutting the vegetables.
  5. Arrange the rice in the bottom of a bowl, then add the tuna and vegetables.
  6. Add a small amount of wasabi or pickled ginger over the tuna to give the dish more flavor. 

Veggie Poke

  1. Avocado, sliced
  2. Cucumbers, thinly sliced
  3. Cherry tomatoes, halved
  4. Red onion, thinly sliced
  5. Soy sauce (use tamari sauce for a gluten-free version)
  6. Sesame oil
  7. Roasted sesame seeds
  8. Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  9. Black pepper (optional) 


  1. Blanch the edamame according to the instructions on the package. Peel them and leave them to cool.
  2. Mix a small bowl of soy sauce (or tamari sauce) and a little sesame oil.
  3. Prepare the additional ingredients such as avocado, cucumber, cherry tomato, and red onion.
  4. Assemble the Poke by placing the rice on the bottom, the edamame, the vegetables, and a crumbled feta cheese.
  5. Enhance with soy sauce and desired flavorings.
  6. Finally, add a sprinkling of sesame seeds. 

Vegan Poke

It is possible to make a 100% vegan poke by adding to the rice or sometimes quinoa base, tofu, or tempeh as an alternative to the classic legumes. 


  1. Tofu cut into cubes
  2. Rice (preferably sushi rice), cooked and seasoned with rice vinegar
  3. Soy sauce (or tamari sauce for a gluten-free version)
  4. Sesame oil
  5. Ripe mango, cut into cubes
  6. Avocado, sliced
  7. Cucumbers, thinly sliced
  8. Carrots, cut into julienne strips
  9. Red onion, thinly sliced
  10. Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  11. Black pepper (optional)
  12. Marinated ginger (optional)
  13. Wasabi (optional)


  1. Gently pat the tofu dry with a kitchen towel or paper towel and cut it into cubes. Marinate the tofu with soy sauce (or tamari sauce for a gluten-free version) and a little sesame oil.
  2. Leave to marinate for at least 15-30 minutes. Next, grill the tofu on a skillet or grill until golden brown and crispy.
  3. Dice the vegetables and mango.
  4. Cook the rice and arrange it on the base of a bowl.
  5. Assemble the Poke by adding the tofu, the vegetables and optionally add the aromatic herbs to taste.

Diet Poke

The primary advice when you want to consume a poke but are on a diet is to do what you need with sauces and condiments. Choose only one protein source, prefer the consumption of whole grains, and pay attention to the amount of sodium that comes from soy sauce. 


  1. Fresh salmon, cut into cubes.
  2. Brown rice or brown sushi rice, cooked and seasoned with rice vinegar
  3. Cucumbers, thinly sliced
  4. Carrots, cut into julienne strips
  5. Yellow peppers, cut into thin strips
  6. Red turnip, cut into thin slices
  7. Low-sodium soy sauce
  8. Lemon juice
  9. Grated ginger (optional)
  10. Chia seeds or flax seeds (optional)


  1. Cut fresh salmon into even cubes; you can opt for raw or lightly cooked salmon, depending on your preference.
  2. Mix moderate amounts of low-sodium soy sauce and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add the grated ginger for a touch of freshness and mix well.
  3. Cut all the vegetables into thin slices.
  4. Cook the rice and place it in the bottom of a bowl, then add all the other ingredients.
  5. To increase your fiber and healthy fat intake, add a small amount of chia or flax seeds to the top of the poke bowl.

Read Also: Diet And Pleasure: Unsuspected Allies


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