Spicy Salmon Poke with Crunchy Cucumber

Printable Version (Recipe Only)

As you might already know, we are big on raw fish Chez Robinson. While I generally prefer to have sushi out so we can enjoy a wide variety of fish, sometimes a quick and easy poke bowl at home hits the raw spot without breaking the bank.

Poke (pronounced POHkeh) is a Hawaiian dish of seasoned raw fish and other ingredients, and the possibilities are endless. In our house, we'll eat all kinds of poke, but salmon is probably our favorite fish for the application.

I love this combination of rich, raw salmon with the savory crunch of the onion, the refreshing crunch of the cucumber, and the yummydelicious spicy seasoning in which it's tossed.

You can buy sushi fish in person at places like MitsuwaMarukai99 Ranch, and H-Mart (or just yelp "Japanese Market" in your 'hood) and online at places like Catalina Offshore Products, among others. If you're buying it at a market that's somewhat far from your house, make sure to either take an iced cooler with you, or ask the people at the fish counter for a bag of ice on which to transport your fish back home.

People often ask me what distinguishes sushi grade fish from non. The quick and dirty is that sushi grade fish here in the US is suggested or required, depending on the type of fish, to have been frozen at a certain temperature for a certain time period in order to have killed certain cooties. The further quick and dirty is that much fish sold in market cases, by this definition, is "sushi grade."

What you want to do when shopping for sushi fish is shop from a place that not only has the fish requisitely frozen, but has high turnover of it, i.e., it is a place where lots of people go to buy their raw fish. And always remember that if it smells fishy (and I don't mean of the clean ocean, but a little rank and nasty), it's not fresh.

If you'd like to read more about sushi grade fish, click HERE.

Spicy Salmon Poke With Crunchy Cucumber
Serves 2 as an entree over rice, 4 to 6 as an appetizer with tortilla chips, pita chips or fried wonton wrappers. It is easily doubled.
Time: 20 to 30 minutes
Printable Version

If you're planning to eat this with steamed rice, remember to put your rice on before you start making the poke, and they should be done roughly about the same time. :)

- 3/4 pound fresh raw salmon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (you can use whatever sushi fish you like if you don't like salmon)
- 1 medium Persian/Lebanese or Kirby cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced (you can use white or yellow if you don't have the red. If they're specially hot and sulfury, give them a 5 minute soak in cold water and drain thoroughly before adding to the poke)
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chilies (I like jalapeños or serranos.)
- 5 to 10 whole stems cilantro, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce to start
- 1/2 Tablespoon chili garlic paste to start (you can also use sriracha or sambal oelek)
- 1/2 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 Tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice to start
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Combine all ingredients in large bowl and gently toss with a spoon or spatula to season evenly. Adjust seasoning if needed, toss again, and enjoy!

Again, it's great over plain steamed rice, or if you prefer seasoned sushi rice, which is made by adding seasoned sushi vinegar to your steamed rice per bottle instructions, or to taste.

Enjoy. :)



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