If you’re a big sushi fan but tired of eating all those bite-sized pieces, there’s yet another fun way to enjoy the flavors of sushi.
A sushi bowl and poke bowl both refer to the same dish.
It’s a tossed-up salad with the same kinds of ingredients you find in sushi and sashimi. Like sashimi, it is a raw-fish based dish, full of tasty toppings and a savory dressing.
Even if you’re not a fan of raw fish, you can still enjoy these bowls as there are many vegetarian, vegan, and other seafood alternatives.
But best of all, it’s a nutritious and healthy meal you can enjoy at any time of day.
In this post we'll cover:
What is a Poke Bowl?
Chances are that if you enjoy the flavors of sushi, you’ll love the poke bowl too.
It is essentially a bowl of sushi ingredients plus some exciting additions. The flavor combination is much more interesting and varied.
The classic poke bowl is a free form mix of raw tuna marinated in a soy sauce placed on a bed of sticky rice.
Most chefs top it with avocado, onion, plus some seasonings and an Asian-style sauce or wasabi.
Sushi vs. Poke Bowl
Sushi or sashimi is served in the form of small rolls, whereas poke is a bowl full of layered ingredients.
The main difference is that you usually eat sushi on its own. Some variations contain no more than two or three components (i.e., sashimi).
Poke bowls, on the other hand, are full of different ingredients all tossed tother.
The poke bowl is packed with colorful ingredients, and there’s a large variety of goodies you can put in there. It is an exciting and wholesome dish with fish, vegetables, and rice.
For veggie inspiration, check: Sushi without fish | Delicious tofu recipe & more fillings discussed.
What are typical Poke Bowl ingredients?
This dish combines a base layer, raw fish (or substitutes), vegetables, seasoning, and dressing.
- Base: This is the bottom layer of the poke bowl, and it usually consists of warm jasmine or sticky rice—the warmth of the rice pairs well with the cold tuna. For a low-carb alternative, use zucchini noodles.
- Fish: Raw sushi-grade tuna (ahi) is the most popular choice. You can use other seafood like cooked crab and salmon or skip the meat and use tofu.
- Seasoning: The bowl is seasoned with sesame seeds, onions, and Himalayan salt.
- Vegetables: Avocado gives the bowl some creamy sweetness. As well, you can add crispy onions and seaweed flakes for some crunch.
- Dressing: The most common dressing is Shoyu sauce or a Japanese hot chili sauce. If you want a classic sushi flavor, add wasabi.
Wondering what Shoyu exactly is? Read What is Tamari Japanese Shoyu? Here’s how to use this soy sauce.
Where did the Poke Bowl come from?
You’re probably expecting poke bowls to be a cool new Asian invention. But, it’s mostly an American and Pacific islander way of eating raw fish.
The poke bowl originates from Hawaii. It was popularized in the 1970s, and it’s a unique take on one of the Native Hawaiian cuisine’s best ingredients: yellowfin tuna.
The word poke (pronounced poke-ay) is the word for ‘slice’ or ‘cut’ in Hawaiian.
The name refers to the Hawaiian tradition of cutting raw chunks of tuna (ahi) into cubes.
Poke Bowl Nutrition
A poke bowl is a nutritious and wholesome dish. It has an average of 500-700 calories, depending on your base layer.
Overall, this is considered a healthy food because it’s packed with vitamins and nutrients.
Raw tuna is an excellent source of lean protein and healthy omega fish fats. The vegetables and avocado are full of fiber, antioxidants, and lots of vitamins.
It’s a good meal choice for dieters because it’s a dish filled with healthy fats, which energizes the body without packing on the pounds.
So, are you ready to make the switch from sushi rolls to a nutritious poke bowl? Just imagine all the tasty fillings and toppings you can choose from!
Since the poke bowl trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, you’ll probably find a restaurant nearby.
Every month new cooking tips in your email?
Japanese recipes, cooking tips and more with the first email our FREE mini-recipe guide "Japanese with ease"
Besides in a bowl, you can also find sushi as a sandwich. Read our ultimate guide to the Japanese Onigirazu sushi sandwich | recipe & more.