Bring a Hawaiian breeze into your kitchen with this vibrant tofu and vegetable poke bowl. Thank you Nakano Natural and Seasoned Rice Vinegar for sponsoring this post!
Tofu and Vegetable Poke Bowl
This past week has been a very exciting one for Ben and I. After weeks of browsing the net, searching for our next adventure, we decided to splurge and book a trip to the Big Island this October. There are so many things I want to do and see – volcanoes, lava tubes, helicopter tour, night cruise, green and black sand beaches – that I can’t wait for the vacation to begin!
The last time I was in Hawaii was 17 years ago, when I spent about a month in Honolulu. My modeling agency was on Kapahulu Avenue and I was staying with a friend whose apartment was near The Wave, the famous, now-defunct nightclub near Kalakaua Avenue. I remember spending many lazy afternoons on the beach, auditioning to be the bikini girl on those Aloha! Hawaii postcards, climbing Diamond Head and swimming in the pool at sunset. There was a constant mist floating in the air which made my hair uncontrollably frizzy. The droplets also created vivid streaks of colors like I had never seen before. Everywhere I looked there were massive rainbows arching over valleys and lush green mountains. It felt like paradise on earth.
Once in a while I would go out for a bite to eat but more often than not would cook at home to save money (restaurants in Hawaii are quite pricey). I grilled shark steaks on the barbecue, ate apple fritters from the convenience store and made my own poke bowls. Poke bowls are sort of like deconstructed sushi – chopped raw fish and avocado topped with fresh ingredients and a sweet and savory tare sauce. It’s good, filling and very easy to make, which fit the lifestyle of a 20 something girl who was all about having fun and spending little time in the kitchen. That was a lifetime ago, well before I fell deeply in love with cooking!
If you live in one of America’s major cities you’ve seen poke bowl places popping up everywhere lately. It’s the latest food craze.
Making poke bowls can be a problem if you don’t live near the ocean. It can be very expensive to buy sushi grade fish – I pay around $25 for a small block of tuna and salmon at the Japanese supermarket. Not cheap! The good thing about poke bowls though is you don’t necessarily need to add fish to make it delicious. A bowl of well cooked Japanese rice topped with veggies, tofu cubes and a nutty umami based sauce will do the trick.
The secret to making a good poke bowl literally is in the sauce. I’ve tasted some that were so sweet I had to pick the fish out of the bowl and eat it separately. To me, a good poke sauce is equally sweet, nutty, citrusy and tangy. My sauce is very simple and I think strikes the perfect balance of all four flavor profiles. I’m using a mix of fresh ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin and Nakano Citrus Seasoned Rice Vinegar.
The subtle flavors of the lemon peels in the rice vinegar brightens up the dish and makes it pop with freshness. It gives the dish a cleansing feel and makes you dig in for more. As you know, I’ve been using Nakano Natural and Seasoned Rice Vinegars for as long as I can remember. I have all of their flavors and find that they complement so many of my recipes. The Citrus flavor pairs well with fish, seafood and makes a wonderful dressing to salads and grilled vegetables – and of course, poke bowls!
This recipe is so versatile you can use any kind of vegetables to make it. Since I wanted a rainbow of colors I picked radishes, cucumbers, red bell peppers, carrots, serrano chiles and avocado. The result is a light and summery bowl packed with so many flavors, each bite tastes different – it’s DE-LI-CIOUS.
Other yummy recipes using Nakano Natural and Seasoned Rice Vinegar:
- Black pepper chicken
- Mushrooms and zucchini uramaki rolls (inside out)
- Japanese caprese salad
- Cold ramen zoodles
Did you like this Tofu and Vegetable Poke Bowl Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share?