When our team spent a week in Oahu, you can bet we checked all the ‘must eat, see, & do’ boxes… and then some. Of course, being first time Hawaii explorers meant we had to hit up the main tourist attractions, but it was the off the beaten path activities and local friends we met along the way that wove our favorite memories of the trip together.
Take this moment of serendipity as an example: Meleana, the owner of our Airbnb, owned Waihuena Farm, that happened to be across the street, and just so happened to have a couple of chefs living on the property. A couple of text messages later, and those chefs were in our kitchen prepping the most delicious Hawaiian dinner – all with locally harvested veggies and fruits from the farm (more on that epic dinner party to come later this month.)
Chef Billy taught us how to whip up a vegan poke bowl that had all the fresh, colorful elements of the traditional, but without the fish.
I know, we were skeptical too, but it was surprisingly delish and so easy and fun to make. Scroll on for Billy’s take on how to make your own version of tofu poke, and get ready to bring major tropical vibes to your mainland get-togethers this spring.
From Billy: Starting off, I want to say that this is not actually poke because traditionally poke has tuna it, so that’s why we’re calling it tofu mock poke. I loved tuna poke soooo much when I first moved to Hawaii 3 years ago, but soon after I came to the realization of the plight we have put on our fish supply, and the impact over-fishing has on the environment world wide. So, to keep my tastebuds happy and the fish where they belong, I came up with this recipe. Enjoy!
for the Tofu Poke Bowl
- 1 lb firm tofu (we used Firm Aloha Brand)
- Organic brown rice
- Radish - 2 oz
- Green onion - 4 oz
- Sweet Maui onion - 4 oz
- 2 Garlic Bulbs
- Thai basil - 2 oz
- Cherry Tomatoes - 3 oz
- 1 chili pepper
- 2 Limes
- Orange slices
- Starfruit slices
- Squeeze the container fluid out of the tofu. (Tip: an easy way to squeeze the moisture out of a tofu cake is to take two large dinner plates remove the tofu from its container, and put the tofu cake in between the two plates to carefully remove moisture without breaking the structural integrity of the tofu cake. The weight of the plate does the work for you.)
- Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch cubes.
- Season tofu with pink Hawaiian sea salt. Set aside. (Option to fry the tofu until it's golden crispy, if you prefer cooked tofu to raw.)
- Prepare 4-6 cups of brown rice in a saucepan.
- Slice the fruits and veggies: Cut the radishes and sweet onion julienne style.
- Chiffonade the green onion and thai basil.
- Finely Dice the garlic and chili pepper (keeping the seeds, if you like spicy)
- Slice the cheer tomatoes in halves or thirds, depending on size.
- Quarter the limes.
- Slice the oranges into small wedges.
- Slice the starfruit.
for the Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
- Tamari - 4 oz
- Rice wine vinegar - 3 oz
- Sweet Thai chili - 2 oz
- Toasted sesame seeds - 1 tbsp
- Toasted sesame oil - 2 tbsp (or to flavor as well as finish sauce for the dish)
- Lime juice - 1 oz
- 1 chili pepper finely diced with seeds
- Brown sugar - 1 tbsp
- Stir all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until blended thoroughly.
- For a more smokey flavor, add 1 extra tbsp of toasted sesame oil.
Assemble the Bowls
- Spoon out desired amount of brown rice into a large bowl.
- Top rice with tofu and all prepared produce.
- Add desired amount of sweet thai chili sauce.
- Mix well, until everything is coated.
- Squeeze lime wedge on top.
- Garnish with green onion, orange, and starfruit slices.