Amongst all the delectable trends for uber indulgent and sadly not-always-good-for-us foods, poke is a shining light. Pronounced poh-kay, it’s a Hawaiian dish with Japanese influences, which comes at no surprise considering how light the dish is and how it heroes fresh produce and well-balanced flavours.

Traditionally, poke is made up of white rice and seasoned raw fish with bright vegetables for added freshness. But since its modern takeover, anything is possible.

This recipe swaps tuna for salmon and the authors of the Poke cookbook, Celia Farrar and Guy Jackson explain that, “The bright orange tobiko adds a delicately smoky flavour and an interesting, crunchy texture. Piled onto the salmon, it also lends an impressive volcanic appearance to this fiery dish.”

While it takes mere minutes to prepare, the way the rice is cooked is key – follow Farrar and Jackson’s top tips below to get the flavour and texture just right.

Spicy Tobiko Salmon Poke



240g (8½ oz/1 cup) short-grain brown rice salad
3 carrots, peeled
2 baby cucumbers
125ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) tamari soy sauce
60ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) dashi stock
60g (2 oz/¼ cup) sugar
125ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) rice wine vinegar

2 large fresh salmon fillets (approx. 400g/14 oz), skin removed and cut into 1.5 cm (½ inch) cubes

75g (3oz/cup) Spicy Mayo (page 80 of cookbook)
½ tbsp tobiko (flying fish roe)
2 tsp yuzu kosho chilli paste (this is fiery stuff, so add bit by bit until desired level of spiciness is achieved)

2 green chillis, thinly sliced
2 tbsp Nori Furikake (page 93 of cookbook)


Cook the rice as per the cooking instructions and leave to cool.

Use a julienne peeler to create long, thin strips from the carrots and cucumbers and transfer to a bowl. Whisk together the remaining ingredients to make a dressing then pour over the salad.

Gently fold the salmon poke into the marinade ingredients and thoroughly coat.

To assemble, start with a base of the brown rice, top with the salad and pile the fish on top. Garnish with green chillies and furikake.

Try pimping with extra tobiko and a side of pickled cucumbers.


Getting the rice just right

Perfectly cooked, tender grains of rice are an ideal base for any poke bowl. While rice cookers offer an easy and reliable route to fluffy rice heaven, hob cooking is easy enough to master. We use white, brown or black short-grain rice in our recipes. Cooking techniques vary for each, so follow the steps below carefully, depending on the grain you have selected.

The following method will yield approximately 480 g (1 lb 1 oz/2½ cups) cooked rice.

1. Weigh out 240 g (8½ oz/1 cup) rice and place in a saucepan with a close-fitting lid.

2. Rinse! Cover the rice with cold water and, using your hand, stir gently to release the excess starch from the grains. Drain and repeat until the water stops turning cloudy.

3. Once fully rinsed and drained, cover the rice with the following amount of cold water:
White rice …………………… 240 ml (8 fl oz/1 cup)
Brown rice …………….. 360 ml (12 fl oz/1½ cups)
Black rice ………………….. 480 ml (16 fl oz/2 cups) (soak black rice for up to 1 hour before cooking)

4. Place the saucepan on a medium-high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Cover, turn down the heat to a gentle simmer, and cook for the following length of time:
White rice ………………………………… 15–20 minutes
Brown rice ……………………………………. 20 minutes
Black rice …………………………………….. 30 minutes

5. Once the rice is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and leave, covered, to steam for a further 10 minutes.

6. Now you can turn the rice out into a wooden sushi rice bowl, if you have one. Using a rice paddle or wooden spoon, gently fold and turn the cooked rice, allowing the steam to evaporate.

7. At this stage, we like to season the freshly cooked rice. Whisk together 2 tablespoons of mirin with 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, plus 1 teaspoon of sugar and ½ a teaspoon of salt. Drizzle the mixture over the hot rice while gently folding to coat each grain.

8. The rice should now be left for 10 minutes to cool before using for your poke bowl.


This is an edited extract from Poke by Celia Farrar and Guy Jackson, published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $24.99 and is available at QBD The Bookshop and Dymocks. Photographer: Matt Russell

Serves 4 | Difficulty: Easy