Thanks to scorching temps, we’re still deep in our no-cook era. In case you’re bored of Caesar salad, charcuterie and your girl dinner of choice, we suggest trying the Tabasco- and gochujang-cured salmon poke bowl from Lara Lee’s new cookbook, A Splash of Soy: Everyday Food From Asia. As long as your rice is already prepared, the only “cooking” you’ll need to do is douse spinach with boiling water to wilt it.
“[Poke] was prepared by Hawaiians long before the arrival of westerners,” writes Lee. “Freshly caught fish was cut into cubes and combined with sea salt, seaweed and candlenuts. Over time the dish evolved, with the introduction of soy and toasted sesame oil by Japanese and Chinese immigrants.”
Her take on the dish stars a spicy, vinegary marinade concocted from pantry staples. The zingy sauce cuts right through the salmon’s rich, fatty flavor. If you’d rather not spring for sashimi-grade salmon, substitute smoked salmon. Or if you’re vegan, use meaty mushrooms, sticky tempeh or crispy tofu in fish’s place.
Excerpted from A SPLASH OF SOY: Everyday Food From Asia. Copyright © 2023 by Lara Lee. Photographs © Louise Haggar.
10 ounces sashimi-grade salmon, cut into ¾-inch cubes, or smoked salmon cut into ¾-inch strips
1 tablespoon Tabasco
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
¾ teaspoon gochujang paste
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, preferably toasted
½ red onion, thinly sliced
Flaky sea salt, to taste
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon soy sauce divided, plus more for serving
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, plus more for serving
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
3 ounces baby spinach (about 3½ cups)
3¼ cups cooked white rice
1 avocado, cut into ¾-inch cubes
2 tablespoons crumbled crispy seaweed (such as nori sheets or seaweed flakes)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (preferably toasted)
Shichimi togarashi, to taste (optional)
Tabasco, to taste
1. Mix the cubes of salmon with the Tabasco, sesame oil, gochujang and sesame seeds. Let stand for 5 minutes to cure before serving.
2. Put the red onion in a small bowl and season with flaky sea salt, then let stand to soften the rawness of the onion while you prepare the other ingredients.
3. Stir the soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar in a small bowl until the sugar has dissolved, then set aside.
4. Put the spinach in a heatproof bowl, boil a kettle and pour the boiling water over the spinach. Let wilt for 2 minutes, then drain.
5. Divide the cooked rice between two serving bowls. Place the cured salmon on one side of the bowl, then arrange the avocado, spinach, red onion and crispy seaweed. Garnish with the sesame seeds and shichimi togarashi, if using.
6. Drizzle the soy-sesame sauce over the two bowls to serve. Serve with soy sauce, Tabasco and sesame oil on the side for extra drizzling.