Watermelon Poké Bowls

Poké bowls are delicious bowls!! I used to make them at home all of the time with fresh ahi tuna, but they still never tasted quite right. There is just something special about a restaurant that knows how to make these things RIGHT, and they probably have some  secret ingredient for that magic sauce that you can just never make on your own.

Imagine later my slight disappointment when I became full vegetarian and couldn’t have them anymore, from a restaurant or homemade. That is until I came across this amazing health-conscious restaurant (called Second Nature; check them out if you’re in the San Diego area). They were offering up something called a “watermelon poké bowl”. Watermelon in place of fish? Are you kidding me? So of course I ordered it, being a skeptic of it all but also slightly hopeful that it would somehow be the solution I was looking for.

And let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

It doesn’t make sense! Tuna and watermelon are so so SO drastically different! How could they possibly work to replace each other? I think it has something to do with them both absorbing and taking on flavors easily, so if you have a good poké sauce the watermelon will taste the same. It also doesn’t hurt that they look pretty similar when cut into cubes, so you get a bit of the mind trick going on here.

I have also found that the perfect ingredient to make that sauce extra special is a bit of maple syrup. Completely unexpected, but something about that little extra sweet just makes it all work.

2 (rice cooker) cups brown rice, uncooked
2 cups cubed watermelon
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
¼ cup sushi vinegar
½ cup edamame
½ Japanese cucumber, sliced
½ avocado, cut into cubes
¼ cup fresh sliced scallions
3 tablespoons sesame seeds

20-cup Digital Multicooker; adjust the ingredient amounts for smaller cookers
4 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

1. Add the rice to the inner pot of your multicooker
2. Add enough water to swirl the rice around; you should notice the water is cloudy. Drain the water and repeat rinsing until the water is clear, about 3 times
3. Once the cloudy water has all been drained, add water to the line marked 2 on the inside of the pot
4. Making sure the outside of the pot is dry, place the inner pot back into the multicooker
5. Close the lid, turn on the cooker and select the BROWN RICE function. Your rice should be done in about 70 minutes
6. While the rice is cooking, put the cubed watermelon into a large bowl; set aside
7. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, maple syrup, and garlic
8. Pour about half of the mixed sauce over the watermelon, then set the rest aside. Stir the watermelon gently to coat it all with the sauce. Let marinate until the rice finishes cooking
9. Add the mayonnaise to the remaining half of the dressing; whisk briskly with a fork to break up as much of the little chunks as possible. Set aside
10. While rice is cooking and watermelon is marinating, if needed peel the edamame, slice the cucumber, cut the avocado, and cut the scallions
11. Once the rice is finished cooking, turn off the cooker. Let rice cool for about 5 minutes, then use your rice spatula to stir in the sushi vinegar. Mix and fold until fully incorporated
12. Assemble the poké bowls by putting about 1 cup of the rice into a bowl and topping with watermelon poké, edamame, cucumber, avocado, scallions, some of the mayonnaise sauce, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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