Watermelon Poke Bowl
Whilst I personally no longer eat fish, I am a lover of briny, saltwater flavors and spices. In the past few months I've been experimenting more and more with seaweeds. I've always been a huge fan the ocean bound vegetable kingdom but outside of nori rolls, toasted seaweed snack sheets and the occasional seaweed salad at a sushi restaurant there's not much use of it in this country. I'm also trying to reduce my salt intake and focus more on realizing what foods I am already eating that naturally contain good amounts of sodium - like spinach, Swiss chard, beets, celery and seaweed. If these foods are already abundantly in my diet, chances are that when I add more salt, I'm actually getting too much!
Now that summer is officially upon us and watermelons are everywhere - I wanted to experiment with a dish that had popped up on my radar a small handful of times. When I did eat fish, I loved poke. A cousin, in my mind, of tuna tartar - which happens to be one of the first great fish dishes I feel like I totally mastered nearly 17 years ago while living in NYC.
To take a raw food source and add the absolute bare minimum of flavors and sauces is a true testament to the ingredient. I get that people love meat - but the reality of it is that most people love the sauces smothered over the meat or the sauce that the meat marinated in. With very few exceptions, simply throwing meat on a grill with no added spices, flavors, sauces or marinades, would likely result in a not very enthusiastic audience.... but that's just my opinion.
What I love most about this dish is that it is beyond simple. If you can cook rice, you can easily make this. But ... it looks and tastes like an extraordinarily special dish. The biggest surprise of this dish was how many kids devoured it. If your kid is into sushi, I'm betting they'll be into this!
- 1 Cup Sushi Rice
- 2-4 Cups Watermelon (cubed)*
- 4-6 Radishes
- 1/2 an English Cucumber (or two Persian)
- 2 Avocados
- 2 TBSP Nori Flakes
- 1 TBSP Sesame Seeds (optional)
- 2 TBSP Toasted Sesame Oil
- 3 TBSP Coconut Aminos (I prefer CA's as they have far less sodium but Tamari or Soy Sauce would be fine too)
- 2 TBSP Rice Vinegar
- 1/4 Cup Macadamia Nuts (optional)
Cook the sushi rice per packet instructions, let stand, covered for 10 minutes after cooking.
In a fine mesh sieve rinse under cool water. (Can be made ahead). Let drain fully.
While sushi is cooking - whip out your mandolin** - and on nearly the thinnest setting slice both the radishes and the cucumbers. You can keep as whole rounds or cut in half or even quarters - however you prefer! Peel and slice the avocado.
Next grab a small bowl and whisk together the dressing of Coconut Aminos, Rice Vinegar, Sesame Oil and Nori.
And finally it's time to assemble. This is a great dish for individual bowls or as a shared platter. Lay all of the individual ingredients out and lightly spoon the dressing over. If desired add sesame seeds and macadamia nuts to finish.
* the larger the cube, the larger the measurement will be - I prefer a smaller cube - roughly dice size. There's no right or wrong measurement here - it's however much you like and however big or small you prefer.
** ok seriously, if you don't have a mandolin, you need one. It is hands down one of the top three tools I use in the kitchen. Here's an earlier blog post about my favorite kitchen tools!
recipe inspired by purple carrot and modified for my own needs, tastes and group size.