Recipes excerpted from California: Living + Eating by Eleanor Maidment, published by Hardie Grant Books, May 2019
An Angeleno friend claims that the poke craze we’ve seen sweep the world is the California appropriation of poke. Originally, poke was a way for Hawaiian fishermen to use the off-cuts or smaller fish from the day’s catch, mixing it with whatever they had on hand, usually things like seaweed and maybe soy sauce and onion. Nowadays, we can choose infinite toppings, bases, accompaniments, and sauces. Whether that is truly down to the Californians, I don’t know, but this dish uses my favorite poke bar flavors. It’s one of my favorite rice dishes. You can adapt the toppings according to what you have in the refrigerator. Pickled ginger, thinly sliced radish and cucumber, chopped green onions, and steamed broccoli all make regular appearances for me. You can also make substitutions, such as trading black rice for items like:
- Basmati rice
- Jasmine rice
- Brown rice
- Grain white rice
- Fried rice
- Saffron rice
- Wild rice
The nuttiness of rice blended with other flavors can greatly impact your final dish, so play with different grain rice. You can always use leftover rice for other rice recipes, like balsamic mushroom rice, rice with shallots, or rice porridge. Try bags of cauliflower rice, depending on the quality of rice and the overall intended flavor of your crispy shallot rice. You might want to use olive oil instead of sesame oil, and you can even use fried shallots to ensure they’re crispy.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
- 100 g (3 ½ oz) black rice (or about 200 g/7 oz cooked black rice)
- 100 g (3 ½ oz) frozen edamame beans
- 30 g (1 oz) kale, thick stems removed (keep the stems to chop into stews
- or blend into smoothies)
- Juice of 1 tangerine
- Two teaspoons of toasted sesame oil or olive oil
- One tablespoon of soy sauce
- ½ avocado, diced
- 100 g (3 ½ oz) raw, sliced sushi-grade salmon (see Note below)
- Cup of shallots
- 90 ml (3 fl oz/generous 1/3 cup) sunflower oil
- Two banana shallots, halved and quite thinly sliced
- Bay leaves for flavor if needed
- Pinch of kosher salt
Put the rice in a large saucepan, add a pinch of salt, and cover with triple the volume of cold water. Bring to a boil, then turn to medium-high heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes (top up with water if necessary) until tender. Drain rice and spread on a plate to cool. You can blot the cooked rice with a paper towel to speed up the process. In a separate, medium saucepan of boiling water, simmer the edamame for 3-4 minutes or until they’re all floating on the surface. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside. Meanwhile, tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces. Place them in a mixing bowl, add half the tangerine juice and massage it into the leaves to soften them. Set aside. Put the remaining tangerine juice in a jar with the sesame oil and soy sauce. Seal with a lid and shake to make a dressing.
Crisp the Shallots
To make the crispy shallots, place the oil and shallots in a cold saucepan, set over medium heat, and season with salt. The aim is to cook them slowly until they crisp up and turn a medium golden color. This process should take 10-15 minutes. Drain through a sieve (fine-mesh strainer), reserving the oil for dressings and marinades. Transfer the shallots to a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.
Toss rice once cool with the kale and divide it between two plates, spooning dressing over each. Scatter the edamame and avocado across each plate, then arrange the salmon on top. Add the rest of the dressing, then scatter with crispy shallots to serve.
Notes on Raw Fish
It may seem obvious, but if you plan to serve raw fish, buy it from a place you know and trust (I go to my local Japanese supermarket) and eat it that day. If you can’t find quality fish, you can replace the raw salmon here with smoked salmon (try thicker-cut tsar filets), seared tuna, cooked king prawns (shrimp), or fresh white crab meat. Some poke dishes can use substitutions like chicken legs, chicken meatballs, or other chicken products. You can use chicken stock to enhance the overall flavor.