Growing up in Alaska, all of the good food was wasted on me: I didn’t like seafood until I moved away and became an adult. That includes Alaskan salmon, which I’ve only come to appreciate more as I get older. Pair that with the fact that Mr. V is an incredible cook, and I’ve become a convert to a number of seafood dishes I would never have touched as a kid – including Alaskan Salmon Poke.
I recently set out to master the art of making Poke at home; this dish has its roots in Hawaii but can be made with fish from Alaska. In short, it’s a great opportunity to create flavors from far away right in your kitchen, even as we travel less right now.
This post is sponsored by iHerb. iHerb is an online store with tens of thousands of products including vitamins, supplements, and natural health products including groceries. I’m excited to show how you can purchase almost everything you need to make Poke from iHerb, so read on for my full Alaskan Salmon Poke recipe.
Finding Sushi Grade Alaska Salmon
When it comes to Poke, the most important part of the dish is obviously the fish! You need to ensure that the salmon you buy is of a certain grade – sushi or sashimi grade, specifically – so that you’re not at risk of food poisoning from eating it raw.
Here’s how to find sushi-grade Alaskan salmon:
- Know when Alaskan salmon is available. I covered the different types of Alaskan salmon and when each one ‘runs’ in my Grilled Alaskan Salmon recipe. those are the only times of year you can make this recipe with Alaskan salmon, but you can make it with other salmon during the rest of the year.
- If you want to buy fresh, never-frozen Alaskan salmon, I recommend searching for fish markets in your town or city – and then calling them first to ask if they have sushi-grade salmon and/or supply to sushi restaurants. (Once you get in the market, you can double-check in-person but you won’t feel pressured to buy a fish that you don’t feel is safe.)
- You can also buy frozen Alaskan salmon to use in Poke, online or in some fish markets.
Mr. V also asked me to share the Monterey Bay Aquarium guidelines on sustainable fishing and how to choose sustainable seafood. This is super important – though fish is one of the best sustainable proteins on the planet, we have to make conscious choices when we shop to ensure we’re supporting businesses don’t overfish or threaten important populations in the ecosystem.
Personally, I researched several fish markets here in the San Francisco area. When I found one that looked like it had a wide selection, I called one to confirm they had sushi-grade salmon and double-checked once I got in the store.
Other Ingredients You Need for Poke
After the fish you choose, there are a number of other ingredients you’ll need that you might not have in the cupboard already. I certainly didn’t.
I purchased all of my Poke ingredients on iHerb; they have over 30,000 natural products in their store, including an awesome selection of seasonings and herbs. They have nutritional information for most products too, which helped me find keto-friendly products for this recipe. Here’s what I bought from iHerb for this recipe:
- Eden Organic Tamari Soy Sauce
- Jarrow Formulas Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
- Spectrum Culinary Organic Sesame Oil
- Sunfood Superfoods Raw Organic Macadamia Nuts
- Drogheria & Alimentari Organic Crushed Red Pepper
Honestly – Poke is already a healthy dish. Buying these organic ingredients made sure I wasn’t adding any extra chemicals (or sugar) to ruin the health benefit! (iHerb orders ship from climate-controlled distribution centers to ensure the quality of their products. Seriously, it’s probably the healthiest home meal we’ve had in a while!)
How to Make Alaskan Salmon Poke
Looks delicious, right? Now that you’ve got the right quality of Alaskan salmon (or another fish) and you have your other ingredients, it’s time to put it all together! There are multiple steps in making Poke, so I’ve broken them down one by one with photos – you can see the final recipe at the end.
How to Make Poke Sauce
I recommend starting your Alaskan Salmon Poke recipe with the sauce so you can put it in the fridge to cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
To start, mix your Tamari (¼ cup), sesame oil (1 teaspoon), and apple cider vinegar (1 teaspoon) in a small bowl. The ingredients won’t naturally combine (they are oil, vinegar, and water-based soy sauce, after all!), but you can gently stir them with a spoon. Once mixed, put this bowl in the fridge.
Making Poke Toppings
Sesame seeds are probably the most popular Poke topping. They’re low in carb and high in protein and fat, making them great for keto-friendly diets. You can certainly use sesame seeds if you’re looking for an easy topping!
I decided to make my own topping using macadamia nuts; they’re also keto-friendly in small doses – and you don’t need much to top your Poke.
Add macadamia nuts to a small food processor (we have a hand-held one) and grind them into small pieces. In the end, they should look like this:
Basically, your macadamia nut topping should be about the same size as sesame seeds, but it’s another option that adds a different flavor and texture if you’d prefer. You only need 2 tablespoons of macadamia nuts for this recipe, but you can make extra and use it to freshen up any leftovers.
Prepping Your Salmon
Finally it’s time to work on the star of the show, the salmon! To prep your salmon, you need to do two things:
- Remove all skin and the fatty sub-skin layer from your fish. This fatty layer is tough and ruins the soft fish texture of your Poke. Most fish markets will cut the skin off, but you may need to trim any remaining fat again.
- Cube your salmon into pieces that are ½” (one-half inch, or around 1cm) or less. You don’t want too big of pieces or they won’t absorb the sauce and soften as well.
Put your salmon in a bowl once you’re done; it should look like the photo above.
If you’re not ready to assemble your Poke bowl right away, cover this bowl and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
Putting it All Together
Once you’re ready to enjoy your Alaskan Salmon Poke bowl, there are a few more quick steps. First, add your macadamia nut toppings and crushed red pepper (1 tablespoon).
Use a spoon to mix/toss the salmon with the toppings until they’re evenly covered.
Next, pour your sauce over the salmon. You don’t need to fully coat it while pouring; once you pour all the sauce in, use your spoon to mix the whole bowl.
Over time, the salmon will absorb some of the sauce. I found that most of it absorbed in the first 15 minutes and, by mixing it again, the remainder absorbed within an hour.
How to Make a Poke Bowl
Your Poke is now ready, and it’s time to make a Poke bowl! There are tons of things you can pair with Poke, including:
- Pickled or sliced cucumber
- Edamame (soy beans)
- Pickled ginger
- Green Onion
- Seaweed salad
- Thai Chilis (for a kick!)
You also have to decide what to serve your Poke on. The most common options are rice, salad greens, and noodles. I opted for keto-friendly kelp noodles from Sea Tangle Noodle Company which added a nice crunch and few carbs.
And that’s it! If you’re ready to try it yourself, you can find the full recipe below.
My Alaskan Salmon Poke Recipe
You’ve patiently worked through each of the steps in detail, now here’s the recipe for how to make Alaskan Salmon Poke at home.
Alaskan Salmon Poke
- 1 lb Alaskan Salmon Sushi Grade
- ¼ C Tamari Soy Sauce
- 1 Tsp Sesame Oil
- 1 Tsp Apple Cider Vinnegar
- 2 Tbsp Macadamia Nuts Crushed
- 1 Tbsp Crushed Red Pepper
- Combine the Tamari soy sauce, sesame oil, and apple cider vinegar in a bowl and mix.
- Crush macadamia nuts (optional).
- Cube salmon into pieces of no larger than ½" sides.
- Pour crushed macadamia nuts and crushed red pepper over cubed salmon, and mix.
- Pour sauce mix over fish and mix.
- Create a poke bowl with your desired base and sides.
In addition to these Poke ingredients, I also went a little bit crazy on iHerb and bought the ingredients to make Mr. V’s birthday cake: Chocolate Mint (Alaskan) Earthquake Cake! I was able to get sugar substitutes, organic cocoa powder, and dark chocolate to make that recipe:
If you’re sold on switching to do more grocery shopping on iHerb, they ship to 180 countries and offer customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in 10 different languages. Best of all: you can receive a discount off your first iHerb purchase with no minimum required if you click this special link first.
Okay, now you’re all set to make Alaskan Salmon Poke at home. You can make it keto-friendly, as I did, and feel confident you’re now capable of making a delicious new dish that brings the flavors of the world into your kitchen.
Have any questions about how to make Alaskan Salmon Poke? Let me know in the comments!