I’ve been obsessed with Poke bowls ever since I tried one a few years ago and now it’s all I crave when the temp surpasses 75 degrees. I wish I could say I visited Hawaii where they originate and tried one but it was actually in Harvard Square! It is one of my dreams to go to Hawaii and stand in my sandals, outside at a food cart where they’re slinging poke bowls with the freshest catch and fruit there could ever be. But until then, I will do my best to pay tribute to this colorful, refreshing and nourishing meal.

My version of a Salmon Poke Bowl is one of my all-time favorite recipes because it features many of my favorite things- fish, fresh fruit, creamy sauces and crunchy toppings. Don’t be intimidated by how many ingredients and steps there are, the abundance of elements in this recipe [and in poke bowls in general] is what makes it so delicious! The mango dressing you could eat straight up and the crispy fried garlic send the whole thing over the top.

I’ve made this with salmon and shrimp. I’ve eaten it warm and cold. So try it any of these ways and let me know how you like it!

You'll need:
For the bowls: 
1 cup cooked brown (or white) rice
1 fresh mango, diced
1 avocado, sliced
2 - 3 scallions, chopped
2 - 3 teaspoons sesame seeds (for garnish)
2 large carrots, julienned (for showing off)
Crispy fried garlic - you need a few cloves for this

For the salmon:
About a pound of salmon, peeled (you could also do shrimp and saute them instead of bake)
Juice of 1 lime
1 - 2 tablespoons sesame oil (or use olive)
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
2 teaspoons Curry powder  (if you don't have a curry powder, just use 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon coriander or cumin)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon red chili powder (to taste)
1 teaspoon soy sauce

For the mango dressing:
1 ripe mango
juice of 1/2 a lime (then save the other half for squeezing over the finished bowls if you like)
2 - 3 tablespoons sesame oil (or substitute olive oil)
2 teaspoons curry powder (if you don't have a curry powder, just use 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon coriander or cumin)
1 - 2 teaspoons salt (to taste)

Let's do it!

  • Start by prepping your rice, especially if you're making brown rice, that's going to take a while. Pro-tip- I always put a tablespoon of butter (or olive oil) in the rice as it cooks I think it adds flavor and prevents sticking

  • Next, blend all the ingredients for the mango dressing in a food processor. Feel free to add in a bit more oil or salt to taste. It should be the consistency of a thick, Caesar dressing. Transfer it to the fridge and chill until ready to serve.

  • For the salmon, combine all of the ingredients from the above salmon list except the salmon in a large bowl. Then toss in the salmon to evenly coat in the marinade. Set aside. You can't let this marinade for more than 20/25 minutes because the acidity will break down the fish really quickly and turn it to mush. so be mindful that you can't do this step earlier in the day and toss it in the fridge. this is al fresco AF.

  • Bake the salmon on a parchment lined sheet or 9x13 pan at 425 for 20 - 25 min. Test for doneness by prodding it with a fork. You know it is ready when this causes it to flake.

  • Next prep the elements for the bowls: slice the mango, avocado and scallions and julienne carrots. To fry the garlic, heat 2 - 3 tablespoons sesame (or olive) oil in a skillet over medium heat for a minute or 2 to bring it up to temp. Slice garlic and add to the skillet, it should sizzle pretty quickly. Keep an eye on it and cook for a few minutes, move it around the pan if it starts to stick. You want it to be brown but not burnt. Skim off the garlic bits and transfer to a paper towel to dry. You can save the extra garlicky oil and add it to the rice for serving- yummmmm

  • To assemble the bowls, serve the salmon on a bed of rice, topped with the avocado, mango, scallions, mango dressing, sesame seeds and toasted garlic. 

  • I think you can serve this either warm or cold. For the warm method, just serve it all as soon as it's prepared. For the cold method, refrigerate the rice and the salmon (or shrimp) and serve it cool like a salad.

  • If you are using shrimp, heat a large skillet over medium heat, then pour your entire bowl with the shrimp and all the marinade into the skillet. Cook shrimp for about 3 minutes per side, you know they're cooked when they turn bright white. Remove shrimp from pan and loosely chop into small bite sized pieces. Transfer to a bowl and pour the marinade from the skillet over the shrimp again. Let cool in the fridge if you want to serve your bowls cold.

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