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Tuna poke bowl on a budget


Vietnamese version (bản tiếng Việt): click here!

Poke bowl is a traditional Hawaiian dish ( At first, I thought it was a Japanese dish, but turned out it was “one of the main dishes in native Hawaiian cuisine”. However, Hawaiian food takes a lot of influence from Japanese food, so I guessed that was why some Japanese seasoning/ingredients were mentioned in the recipes of poke bowl, such as mirin or shoyu.

The first time I heard of poke bowl was when I hung out with my cousin and his girlfriend when they visited me from Alabama. We had dinner at Junn All you can eat sushi (my favorite sushi place), and my cousin’s girlfriend was so excited about poke bowl, which I’ve never had before. Still, I haven’t thought that I would make those poke bowls one day, until I watched Joshua Weissman’s Perfect homemade Poke Bowl video (you can watch his video here). When I watched this recipe, the first thought I had was, oh it’s so simple, I think I can make it. A little note is that in his original recipe, yuzu juice was used, which was quite fancy (Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit, kind of expensive and rare find). However, he also mentioned that lemon juice can be use as alternatives. And shoyu, which sounds fancy and confusing to us at first, it is just simply Japanese soy sauce. After all, poke bowl is about diced raw fish marinated with whatever we want. So here it is, the “PhD-style” version (a.k.a. use the available seasoning/ingredients/spices that I currently have) and my boyfriend named it “Poke bowl on budget” (Yes, PhD students are poor!).

Shout out to my roommate for the mirin and vegetarian stir-fry sauce.
Shout out to my professor for a jar of fig jam that I could give it a try in this recipe.
And be caution that this dish contain raw fish!

Ingredients: (for 1 serving)


Total time: 15-20 minutes

Plating in a glass tupperware, we have a vegan “tofu poke bento”. Check out the recipe here!

And that’s it! Hope you enjoy this “on budget” poke bowl!


Tuna poke bowl on a budget

I’m surprised to know that poke bowl is a traditional Hawaiian dish and how simple but still delicious it is. As always, my recipe is a “PhD-style” version, which means I will use any ingredients that are available to me or simple to get from nearby stores.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Hawaiian
Keyword poke bowl, tuna
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 1 serving
Calories 751kcal


  • 1 cup Cooked rice
  • 167 grams Tuna sashimi-grade
  • English cucumber
  • ½ cup Red cabbage can be vary to your preference
  • ½ cup Green cabbage can be vary to your preference
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 tsp Chili oil (or chili crisp)
  • ½ tbsp Vegetarian stir-fry sauce (or oyster sauce)
  • ¾ tbsp Kikkoman Soy sauce
  • tbsp Mirin
  • 1 tsp Fig jam (Lemon juice)
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil


  • Fried shallots (can get it from Asian supermarkets)
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh parsley
  • ½ whole Hass avocado


  • Making the sauce: mince the garlic and combine it with all of the chili oil (or chili crisp), vegetarian stir-fry sauce, soy sauce, mirin, fig jam (or lemon juice) and sesame oil in a medium-size bowl. Mix well until homogenized.
  • Dice the tuna in small cubes (0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5 in.) and add to the sauce bowl. Mix/Stir well so that the tuna cubes are well coated with the sauce. Marinate for 10 minutes.

Prepare the fresh garnish while the tuna is being marinated:

  • Thin-slice the cucumber, avocado;
  • Chop the cilantro and parsley;
  • Julienne the red and green cabbage.

Time for plating: (for best visual, use a high-side white dinner plate or a glass container as a “bento”)

  • Add the rice to the plate and flatten it (but don’t press it tightly)
  • Place the cucumbers, avocado, red and green cabbage on the rice
  • Add the marinated tuna to the plate
  • Pour the leftover sauce onto the veggie (if you still have some remained)
  • Top with chopped cilantro, parsley and fried shallots as final garnish
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