An Angeleno friend claims that the poke craze we’ve seen sweep the world is actually the California appropriation of poke. Originally, poke was a way for Hawaiian fisherman 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.
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 actually the California appropriation of poke. Originally, poke was a way for Hawaiian fisherman 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 are offered infinite toppings, bases, accompaniments and sauces. Whether that is truly down to the Californians I don’t know, but this dish is based on my favorite poke bar flavors. You can adapt the toppings according to what you have in the refrigerator: pickled ginger, thinly sliced radish and cucumber, chopped spring onion and steamed broccoli all make regular appearances for me.
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
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ avocado, diced
100 g (3 ½ oz) raw, sliced sushi-grade salmon (see Note below)
90 ml (3 fl oz/generous 1/3 cup) sunflower oil
2 banana shallots, halved and quite thinly sliced
pinch of sea salt
Put the rice in a large saucepan and cover with triple the volume of water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 40–45 minutes (top up with water if necessary) until tender; drain and spread out on a plate to cool.
In a separate pan of boiling water, simmer the edamame for 3–4 minutes, or until they’re all floating on the surface; drain, rinse under the cold tap 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 the juice 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 a medium-low heat and sprinkle with the salt. The aim is to cook them slowly until they crisp up and turn a medium golden color, this should take 10–15 minutes. Drain through a sieve (fine-mesh strainer), reserving the oil for dressings and marinades, then transfer the shallots to paper towel to soak up any excess oil.
Toss the cooled rice with the kale and divide between 2 plates. Spoon a little dressing over each. Scatter over the edamame and avocado, then arrange the salmon on top. Spoon over 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, then do buy it from a place you know and trust (I go to my local Japanese supermarket), and eat it that day. Of course that’s not always possible, so you can replace the raw salmon here with smoked salmon (try thicker-cut tsar fillets), seared tuna, cooked king prawns (shrimp) or fresh white crab meat.