The poké (pronounced poh-keh) bowl has been a staple dish in Hawaii for centuries, but the rest of the world has only recently caught on. Its popularity is not surprising given the current emphasis on balanced and healthy eating. A traditional poké bowl consists of rice, raw fish and vegetables with a bit soy sauce and sesame oil. However, there is room for creativity – especially if you’re trying to get fussy young ones in on the fun.
The basic rules of poké-ing
- If you’re going to go traditional and use raw fish, make sure it’s sushi grade. However, consider also branching out to beef, chicken or tofu.
- For extra flair, we suggest you marinate the proteins in things such as soy sauce, ginger, vinegar and sesame seeds.
- Sushi rice is commonly used in poké bowls, but you can also substitute it for brown rice or quinoa to make it extra-healthy.
- Add some ‘crunch’ in the way of crispy vegetables, pickled ginger and crushed nuts.
- When putting together your poké bowl, arrange by colours, textures, temperatures and flavours. Ensure that you have warm rice, cold proteins, and crunchy veggies.
- Choose your dressing wisely, as this provides a lot of the flavour for the bowl.
“Gateway” poké bowl ideas for children and fussy eaters
If your child is new to the world of poké and has a tendency to be “discerning” about food, it’s best to start them out gently. Here are some easy recipes that they are sure to love!
Tinned tuna poké bowl
- After draining excess water or oil, empty several tins of plain tuna into a bowl and toss in some garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste.
- Add warm cooked rice and sliced (length-ways) cucumbers and voila, an easy and nutritious poké bowl!
Teriyaki poké chicken poke bowl
Here is another super-simple recipe that is guaranteed to please all ages. All you need to do is:
- Marinate pieces of chicken breast into some teriyaki marinade (you can make this yourself, or use a pre-made Teriyaki marinade from the store and marinate for as long as the brand recommends).
- In the meantime, cook the rice, chop up some avocado, shred some carrot, and slice up some cucumbers (Note: You can substitute these for whatever vegetables your children desire).
- Tear up or crush some nori because trust me, the kids will LOVE the crunch and texture.
- Get your little ones to assemble their bowls however they please and drizzle some Japanese mayonnaise or sriracha mayonnaise on top (see here for a good recipe).
Now for something a little different…
If your child is on the brink of raw fish experimentation and you want to nudge them over the line, this awesome Pokémon-inspired poké bowl is your best weapon. And don’t worry, it’s easier than it looks! All you’ll need is some chopped up and marinated sushi-grade tuna or salmon, sushi rice, strips of nori, black sesame seeds and a slice of radish. Then arrange the ingredients artfully into the bowl, as seen below.
Image and recipe: Darcy Lenz/My Recipes
Want a balanced lunch that your kid can take to school?
Admittedly, a poké bowl might not be the easiest thing for your kid to take to school every day. However, Stuck On You’s Bento Box helps them get mighty close! Another great way to promote healthy and balanced eating, our Bento Boxes are a hit in the schoolyard.
Cover image courtesy of Darcy Lenz/My Recipes.