By Leigh O'Connor.
"For us, there is nothing more exciting than getting lost within the rows of magical ingredients at our local Asian supermarket. But this isn’t always practical!” – Celia Farrar and Guy Jackson.
For fashionista Celia Farrar, the poke obsession began in Los Angeles when she was taken to a hole-in-the-wall spot in Venice Beach, where pots of delicious marinated fish were being handed out to a queue of hungry surfers, skaters and locals.
After teaming up with fellow food enthusiast Guy Jackson, the pair began considering how to bring these laid-back sushi bowls to England. A cheeky trip to Hawaii later, they started London’s first poke eatery and joined one of the hottest food trends of the moment.
The resulting book, Poke – Hawaiian-inspired Sushi Bowls, spins a modern twist on the centuries old raw fish dish, creating vibrant, healthy and seriously tasty tropical recipes.
Poke (pronounced poh kay) literally means to cut or section the fish, which is then served sprinkled with sea salt. These days anything goes when it comes to ingredients, simply select the fish, cube it, layer it on rice and pile high with the topping of your choice.
Complete with helpful instructions on how to prep the fish and cook rice, this book also tells you how to pimp up your bowls by adding crunchy pickles and mouth-watering marinades, as well as awesome sides and snacks.
A great sharing dish, ideal for a party or gathering, Spicy Ahi Poke with Wontons and Mango Salsa can be placed in the middle of the table and devoured by all. The combination of tuna with fried wontons, pickled onions and salsa is enhanced by a drizzle of spicy mayo or sprinkling of micro herbs.
Fish and Thai flavours are a match made in heaven and Sea Bass Ceviche with Green Papaya Slaw perfectly balances sweet, salty and sour with an underbelly of spice from red chillies, topped with a ceviche lightly cured in lime and coconut for extra tropical zing.
Even meat lovers will be tempted by Spicy Tempeh Poke with Beetroot and Quinoa Salad, a colourful and vibrant dish, with fresh vegetables and subtle spices. Pimp up the bowl with pineapple kimchi and it’s a dinner winner.
Accompanied by a Li Hing Martini or Plantation Ice Tea, your poke bowl will be an instant hit at the next dinner party.
Poke is all about simple, delicious and endlessly customisable dishes, bringing the flavour of Hawaii to your kitchen and this book is the perfect invitation for readers to dive into the seriously tasty world of sushi bowls.
Images and recipes from Poke by Celia Farrar and Guy Jackson, published by Hardie Grant Books. RRP $24.99 and is available in stores nationally. Photography ©Matt Russell.