photo: Debra Stark

Poke (pronounced “po-kay”) is the Hawaiian word for “chunk,” but here it’s my take on that popular dish by the same name, which typically starts with Native Hawaiian cuisine and then blends in Japanese flavors, too. Poke is usually chunks of marinated raw fish (I’ve used salmon here) served over rice with different vegetables. Using mango is popular. Poke can be served over salad greens; fish can be replaced by tofu; seaweed is a popular addition. Feel free to replace white rice with black rice (stunning!), or like I did, use a mixture of black rice and black lentils, which I easily cooked together.

Serves 2 hungry people as a main course, 6-8 as an appetizer

1 pound wild salmon (or firm tofu)1 C rice (or rice + lentils)
¼ C sliced red onion2 C water or more
2 scallions, sliced (about 1/2 C)1 large mango, diced (about 2 C)
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced2 C diced cucumber
2 tsp black sesame seeds1 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 Tbsp soy sauce1 tsp umeboshi vinegar or lime juice
fat pinch salt1 C sliced radish
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Cut fish into 1-inch cubes (do the same with tofu – or use 2 C edamame). Place in glass bowl. Add the remaining ingredients in column one.  Stir gently until well-mixed. Cover and refrigerate. You can let this marinate for a couple of hours or overnight (up to 2 days).

 Put rice and water into a small pot.  Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, cover pot and cook rice. Cooking time will depend upon the kind of rice you use.  White rice? 20 minutes. Black or brown rice, 45 minutes.

Peel and slice mango off the pit. Cut into small cubes or pieces. Put into a second glass bowl. Quarter your cucumber lengthwise and slice that. Add to mango together with the second tsp of toasted sesame oil and umeboshi plum vinegar (use lime juice if you prefer).

Slice radishes. Peel and slice avocado. When you’re ready to serve, put some rice (or rice and lentils or mixed salad greens) in individual serving bowls. Spoon marinated fish over one portion of rice. Mango cucumber salad over the other side. Garnish with radish and avocado slices. While I know other people want more dressing, I found this simplicity wonderful. You could use a squirt of Sriracha or a drizzle more of soy sauce or toasted sesame oil. A squeeze more of lime juice if you want more “juice”.