Poke bowls have been a traditional Hawaiian dish for centuries, but have gained popularity in the rest of the world in the past few years.
Poke – literally means “to cut”, hence everything in your poke bowl is chopped up and ready to eat.
Yessssss, that’s watermelon – marinated and pan fried.
recipe for this ginger-soy marinated watermelon is down below!
If you’re not feeling adventurous enough for the watermelon (but seriously, try it) – you can go more traditional with tofu, tempeh or raw fish.
We loooove oven baked tofu here, but it’s nice to have options 🙂
It’s pretty simple to construct one: start with a bowl of rice (or quinoa or cauli rice, although not traditional you can change it up to fit your taste or your diet) and top it with raw fish or marinated tofu (you could really do any protein but those are the two most commonly seen ones), fresh veggies, shredded nori, some type of onion and a something pickled. A spicy sauce (like gochujang!) is my favorite way to finish it off.
One of my poke bowls favorite bowls to make is with Organic SeaSnax onion toasted nori & this marinated tofu.
The nice thing about making a poke bowl is that you really can just throw in a bunch of things that you think will go well together and tie it together with the nori, onion & something pickled (the staples).
A super simple marinade for tofu:
- 2 T light flavored oil (I like sunflower or grapeseed oil for this)
- 2 T shoyu, tamari or soy sauce
- 1 T something sweet, i.e. – maple syrup, honey or agave
- 1/2 t orange or lemon zest
- optional – a few shakes of red pepper flakes
Whisk together all ingredients.
After slicing your block of firm or extra firm tofu through the middle (lengthwise), pressing the water out of it, and cutting it into 1 inch cubes, place the cubes into a shallow dish.
Pour the marinade over the toss and gently shake around to cover. Take care when doing this since the tofu is delicate when it’s not cooked.
Cover and let soak for anywhere between 1-3 hours; bonus points for going overnight but I can never wait that long.
When ready to roast, preheat oven to 400 F – *Note* – when I make this in my regular full sized oven, I can set it to 400 or up to 425. When I make this in my small, toaster oven, I can only go to 375 or 400. Anything over 400 in the toaster oven burns the parchment paper, I’m guessing because of the small space (or because my toaster oven needs to be recalibrated, lol).
Line a baking tray with parchment paper or use a silpat.
Scoop your tofu cubes out with a slotted spoon, and spread it out so that each piece has room around it. Save the marinade for dressing. Roast for 15-20 minutes on the middle rack. Check for crispiness. You can give each piece a flip over if you like, but it’s not necessary. Even the newest ovens tend to have hot spots so I like to rotate the tray halfway through cooking to ensure every piece gets crisped evenly.
Roast until crispy to your liking, usually about 25-35 minutes total, depending on what size oven and how hot you make it. Overcooked tofu is such a bummer, so make sure you catch it before it dries out! I hate biting into a rubbery piece of tofu.
This tofu took 34 minutes to roast to perfection, and I actually marinated it overnight (shocking)
Set aside until you’re ready to add it to your bowl.
You could use any flavor (or plain) organic SeaSnax nori, but my two favorites are the onion and the lime.
Ideas, ideas, ideas:
- sushi rice, jasmine rice, cauli rice, or any “rice” you like
- seasnax toased nori sheets- LIME or ONION flavors are my personal fave
- watermelon (from the recipe below)
- raw salmon, tuna or other applicable fish
- grilled shrimp
- pickled ginger
- citrus marinated tofu
- bean sprouts
- gojuchang mixed with mayo for the sauce-yness
- fresh lime
I like to pick a color scheme when I do bowls like this. It (kind of) makes going to the grocery store bearable/ borderline fun, lol. “Hey kids, find a fruit or veg for every color of the rainbow!” I love doing all green bowls also.
Want some extra crispiness? Bring it back to the tempura post, and add some tempura fried nori!
There’s no wrong way to poke; add what you like and season to taste.
To make this delicious soy-ginger marinated watermelon…
I came upon this recipe from bon appetit magazine and was hesitant (because pan frying watermelon?!) to try it but omggggg so glad I did. The flavors are amazing.
I love this recipe for a beach day salad, or to make for a summer party! It’s definitely a crowd pleaser – just be sure to leave the components (watermelon, sauce, fruits & veg, rice, etc.) separate so that each person can tailor their own bowl to their liking.
I made this and then use it as a topping over a bunch of poke bowl thangs: sushi rice, bean sprouts, radish, mango, avocado, kumquat and smoky bacon tempeh.
I love using the lime, onion or chipotle flavors of the toasted Seasnax sheets in my bowl.
I amended the marinade for the watermelon slightly, to use what I had in my kitchen:
- 1/2 c unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 c sesame oil
- 2 T fresh lime juice
- 3 T tamari
- 1 T maple syrup
- 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 2 T tahini
they also call for 1 tablespoon of ume plum vinegar – but I did not have it – add it if you do! I’ll have to pick some up next time I’m at the grocery store 🙂
This ^ marinade, reduced to slightly thicken, makes a great sauce even sans the watermelon! You could use this sauce with your roasted tofu from above as well.
I blended these ingredients until very smooth, and poured them over my (mostly) evenly shaped watermelon pieces in a large ziploc bag. Shake it around to evenly coat everything and let it marinate in the fridge for 4+ hours, but not more than 24.
I’ve cooked/grilled pineapple, peaches, apples, bananas, pears…but never watermelon! It seems so delicate; I wasn’t sure it was going to hold up in the frying pan, but it did.
After pan frying the watermelon (took me about 10 minutes to get them caramelized), reduce the leftover marinade in a separate sauce pan (~25 minutes) to a “heavy cream” consistency by bringing it to a boil and then letting it simmer. Let both the watermelon and the sauce cool down in the fridge for at least as hour.
The original recipe calls for pan frying the watermelon pieces to the point of them becoming “dried out” at 6-8 minutes, but by 10 minutes of pan frying them I still did not see that that was going to happen. I tasted one piece and loved the flavor and texture so I cut it off there.
Once you have the rest of your poke bowl assembled, add the watermelon and drizzle the sauce on top.
Add scallions, fresh cilantro and/or basil, sesame seeds and crumbled Seasnax for the finishing touch. I like to add red pepper flakes as well.
The sauce will keep for a day in the fridge, but I noticed the watermelon gets a bit mushy if you don’t eat it soon after cooking. Definitely a dish best made and served on the same day!