Hawaiian Poké in India

Ayushi Gupta

I recently discovered a passion for poké in London.

No, I’m not talking about the cult app, Pokemon Go (although I am on a mission to catch ‘em all too!), but rather the classic Hawaiian dish (pronounced poh-kay) which has breezily swept over the foodie scene in New York, L.A., London and now Mumbai, courtesy the new poké bar at Foodhall India!

Think of poké as a deconstructed sushi or ceviche bowl.

IMG_7095It starts from a base of rice (white, brown or even black rice!) and then continues with chunks of marinated raw fish, before you pile on a perky mix of veggies and other versatile ingredients, finally topping off with zingy dressings and seasonings.

In case you’re wondering, the word poké originally meant “to cut cross-wise into pieces.” It’s a centuries-old dish, which can trace its roots back to the days even before the British explorer, James Cook, landed in Hawaii; although, it particularly saw a surge in popularity in the country during the ‘70s.

While its classic form features raw fish (skinned, deboned and filleted), modern-day and global interpretations are more varied, with options ranging from spicy salmon to octopus, as well as grilled and fried fish. There are plenty of vegetarian-friendly options on offer as well, including the likes of tofu and marinated mushrooms, alongside trendy superfoods such as quinoa, avocado, and even zucchini noodles. You can be as creative as you like!

The resulting bowl is a thing of beauty – a riot of versatile colours, flavours, and textures. Fresh, creamy, crunchy, piquant, zesty…. And it’s implicitly healthy too.IMG_9793

Following a wave of poké bars in NYC and LA, the dish is now very on-trend in London at the minute, where I’ve been to four different dedicated eateries in the past few months alone (they’ve varied from trendy street food pop-ups to achingly cool fine dining restaurants).

Now that I’m back in Mumbai for a while, I’ll be getting my fix at Foodhall. My favourite combination here involves togarashi avocado (or teriyaki tofu), with soft glazed boiled eggs on a bed of brown rice. A generous drizzle of Sriracha Mayo lends a moreish texture that falls somewhere between creamy and spicy (but for a more zingy note, I’d use lemon ponzu instead). I like to finish my vegetarian poké bowl with a flourish, with heaps of pickled ginger, cucumber, spring onion and a sprinkling of togarashi powder and sesame seeds…

It all makes for a deliciously wholesome, filling and protein-packed meal! A winning combination, if there ever was one.

Have you tried Poké yet? Which is your favourite combination?