Salmon Poke Recipe

A fresh salmon poke recipe with options! How to make fresh salmon poke at home! This post includes everything you need to know about sourcing fish, as well as a recipe for delicious salmon poke.

Bowl of salmon poke with a spoon in it on a white surface

Do you dabble in the raw fish?

Over the last couple of years, I have been in the habit of cooking most of my meals at home, although I have a special place in my heart carved out for going out to all-you-can-eat-sushi. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Reno, going out to one of our many AYCE sushi restaurants should be first on your To Do list! 

Using this interesting time as an opportunity to try new techniques, meals, flavors, etc in the kitchen is a great way of turning an otherwise dull situation into a pretty glorious one! 

Enter: Salmon Poke. And Sushi Burgers. And All the fusion food.

If you saw my post a couple of days ago for Gluten-Free Rice Buns, you know I recently made sushi burgers using salmon poke. For those of you who dabble into raw fish and sushi, I figured I would share my go-to method for making salmon poke

First, some basics:

Is Making Poke Risky?

Yes and no. Primarily no. As long as you buy sushi-grade salmon (the salmon will explicitly state on the packaging, “sushi grade”) and you are careful with the way you prepare it, it is completely safe. 

I go to a seafood supply company here in Reno, where they keep a freezer of sushi-grade fish. It is important that you buy the fish frozen. Not only do seafood supply companies freeze the fresh fish at a lower temperature than your freezer will go in order to kill parasites, but they are the ones familiar with the sourcing and processing. 

In this sense, don’t go buying regular fish from the grocery store…this is where you can get yourself in trouble. 

Be sure to use a clean cutting board and a clean surface when cutting the fish. Don’t leave it out for an extended period of time. In other words, when you’re ready to make poke, make poke…and then eat it. This will ensure any bacteria that happens to be floating around your cooking surface won’t contaminate the fish. 

This is no different than preparing any other meat or vegetable for that matter, but it is worth mentioning so that you stay mindful of good cooking hygiene practices.

When in doubt, don’t do it.

How to Thaw Sushi-Grade Fish:

Best practice is to thaw frozen sushi-grade fish in your refrigerator. In other words, don’t thaw it at room temperature on the counter, and don’t thaw it in water. Allow it to completely thaw in your refrigerator, and once thawed, use it immediately.

Can I Save Leftovers?

I don’t. When I make any sort of raw fish adventure, I always consume it at the exact time. In all likelihood, you are probably fine saving it in the refrigerator overnight and eating it the next day for lunch, but I personally wouldn’t risk it.

Okay, so we all ate poke and it was a blast. What now?

Sanitize anything that same into contact with the raw fish. Again, this is a precautionary measure as there should have been nothing alive in the fish to begin with, but just to be safe and hygienic, sanitize.

This means sanitizing the cutting board you used for chopping the fish, the bowl you used for mixing everything, and all of your counter top surfaces. It takes two seconds, don’t freak out.

Ingredients for Salmon Poke:

Here is what you need to make salmon or ahi poke at home! Note that all of this should be to taste. In essence, use more liquid aminos/soy sauce if you love salty umami flavors, more or less ginger depending on your affinity for it, etc.

Sushi-Grade Salmon (or Ahi/Tuna): Be sure to source your salmon wisely! If you don’t have a way of obtaining sushi-grade salmon that is frozen upon purchase, I don’t recommend making poke at home.  Speak to the seafood person at the store you go to in order to ensure you’re getting sushi quality fish.

Fresh Ginger: a little heat and zing comes from fresh ginger! If you aren’t familiar with fresh ginger, use a vegetable peeler to peel the brown outer skin, then use a zester or the fine side of a grater to grate it. 

Sesame Oil: Toasted sesame oil gives poke a nice robust nutty flavor and also helps keep the sauce thick. You can skip it if you don’t have it on hand, but it really gives the poke a lot of amazing flavor.

Coconut Aminos/Liquid Aminos/Soy Sauce: That salty/umami flavor comes from liquid aminos or soy sauce. I use either liquid aminos or coconut aminos for a soy-free option, but you can absolutely use soy sauce if it’s what you have on hand.

Sriracha/Red Chili Sauce: Sriracha adds a touch of heat, which is nice for rounding out the full palate. If you’re spice averse, stick with a small amount, or add as much as you need to please your heat index.

Rice Vinegar: We need a little tang in our salmon poke, so rice vinegar is my go-to tang-infusion. You can also use cider vinegar or lime juice, but I find rice vinegar provides that authentic sushi-tasting experience.

Green Onion: A little zip an pizzaz is what green onion provides! Don’t skip it if you don’t have to!

Sesame Seeds: I add sesame seeds for a bit of texture and some added nutty flavor. In my opinion, they don’t provide much more than a textural element, so its fine to skip them if you’re okay with less texture.

Optional Add-Ins:

  • If you like your poke on the creamy end, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise (I recommend avocado oil mayo because it’s less gross than regular mayo). 
  • Like your poke sweet and sour? Add 2 teaspoons of pure maple syrup to offset the umami and heat.
  • If you have wasabi paste at home, toss it in! Wasabi generates a great deal of flavor. Just be sure you don’t use too much. I would start with 1 teaspoon and go up from there.
  • Lover of garlic? Add one small clove, finely minced!

How to Make Salmon Poke:

Thaw sushi-grade salmon in your refrigerator until completely thawed. Place salmon on a clean cutting board on top of a clean counter top. Use a knife to remove the salmon skin. You can either discard the salmon skin or do as I do and cook it in a cast iron skillet until crispy and eat it! It tastes amazing in my opinion…I call it bacon of the sea 😉

Chop the salmon into bite-sized pieces. I like chopping it into small pieces, but you can go for larger cubes if you’d like.

Place salmon in a mixing bowl (or regular bowl).

Stir together the ingredients for the sauce in a measuring cup or bowl and pour over the chopped salmon. Stir well until everything is combined. Taste the salmon for flavor and add more of anything you’d like!

Enjoy in a poke bowl, sushi burger, and/or on top of a green salad.

Bowl of salmon poke with spoon and blue napkin on white surface

Should You Fear Fish?

When I visited Copper River Salmon in Cordova, AK a number of years ago, the folks behind the operation mentioned there is a lot of fear surrounding preparing fish and seafood at home. I get it. No one wants to deal with a parasite. They aren’t any shade of a good time.

As long as you stay mindful about properly cooking fish that isn’t sushi-grade, or using sushi-grade fish when leaving it raw, there is no higher risk in preparing it at home than there is in cooking a burger. 

In fact, eating a raw salad is far riskier than cooking a salmon fillet to completion at home!

The reason I bring this up is not to cause you to go rogue and cook all the fish and seafood at home willy nilly without being careful, it is to dissolve any fear you have surrounding the process. If you have questions, drop me a comment!

Can You Eat Raw Fish When Pregnant?

No, don’t do it. That is all.

How to Serve Poke:

Serve poke on your Rice Buns  for a sushi burger approach with crab salad (recipe for crab salad using REAL crab coming soon), seaweed salad, avocado, etc., or make a poke bowl with choice of rice and toppings.

You can also enjoy poke on a green salad, or eat it as an appetizer with Baked Wonton Chips. Get creative with how you enjoy your carefully crafted poke, then report back to me on what you do, pleeeeease!!

Salmon Poke Bowl with salmon poke, brown rice, crab salad, seaweed salad and avocado

ENJOY!!

Please, please leave me a comment or send me an email if you have any questions or concerns!

More Raw Fish Recipes:

POKE!

Bowl of salmon poke with a spoon in it on a white surface

Salmon Poke Recipe

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: poke, salmon, salmon poke, sushi, sushi rice
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Julia

How to make salmon poke at home for a fresh, delicious meal or appetizer!

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb sushi-grade salmon
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger peeled and grated
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil to taste
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar to taste
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp liquid aminos to taste
  • 1 to 3 tsp sriracha to taste
  • 2 stalks green onion finely chopped
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • sea salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Obtain sushi-grade salmon (packaging should specify "sushi grade" and it should be frozen upon purchase).

  2. Thaw sushi-grade salmon in your refrigerator until completely thawed. Place salmon on a clean cutting board on top of a clean counter top. Use a knife to remove the salmon skin.

  3. Chop the salmon into bite-sized pieces. I like chopping it into small pieces, but you can go for larger cubes if you'd like.

  4. Place salmon in a clean mixing bowl (or regular bowl).

  5. Stir together the ingredients for the sauce in a measuring cup or bowl and pour over the chopped salmon. Stir well until everything is combined. Taste the salmon for flavor and add more of anything you'd like!

  6. Enjoy in a poke bowl, sushi burger, and/or on top of a green salad.

collage of two photos of salmon poke

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