A Message from Chef Anna

Finnish Version of Hawaiian Poke Bowl

finnish poke bowl

I got to know this trendy poke bowl when we moved to the U.S. a of couple years ago in 2015. The word poke, pronounced POH-KAY, means “to cut crosswise into pieces.” So what exactly is it? It’s Hawaiian pupu, bite-sized appetizers or hors d’oeuvers as we often call these teeny-tiniest of dishes.

I’ve always been a sushi and raw fish lover, and when I was introduced to this dish I completely fell in love. I love insanely spicy, mouth-burning food and that made me love poke bowls even more. It comes in so many varieties and spice levels. One of my favorite poke bowls, and the most traditional Hawaiian bowl, contains salty soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions, white onions, lime, chili peppers, raw tuna fish and white rice — all seasoned with vinegar. It’s healthy, delicious and totally unique.

I visited the Aloha state last year and really dove into the world of poke. I was told poke has pretty much always been a part of Hawaiian cuisine, but really gained popularity in the 70s when advanced fishing techniques made deep-sea fish like ‘ahi (or tuna) more accessible. Ahi’s ruby red, firm flesh is a lot more appealing than some of Hawaii’s near-shore fish, which have a more grayish and paste-like meat.

Today, poke is often also made from salmon spiced with garlic, chili and lime, ahi limu (yellowfin tuna algae), tofu with soy sauce, sesame and green onions, tako (octopus) and much more. It was fascinating to visit local supermarkets and notice how many different types of poke they have available. Poke flavorings may also include wasabi, spicy mayo, kimchi and oyster sauce. Poke doesn’t necessarily have to be raw even. Cooked octopus poke is a local favorite, and some local chefs make a fried poke! There were entire counters devoted to poke with different varieties in each store I walked into. Oh, it was my heaven! I wanted to taste all of them, but after trying other bowls and pupu dishes I was often too full. I have always been a big appetizer lover, from any country. They’re simply best part of every menu.

So, what should you drink with these bowls? It’s said they’re perfect with beer, but I prefer a quality chardonnay or bubbly water.

New or modern poke bowls incorporate ingredients like quinoa, zucchini noodles and tomatoes. A prime Finnish poke bowl ingredient is barley! Not only are these reimagined bowls departures from Hawaii’s classics, they are also more health orientated. Personally, I love the idea of reimagined recipes and was very happy to find a recipe for Barley Poke Bowl from a Finnish food magazine, which is provided below.

This Finnish poke bowl recipe includes some very Finnish and some just very simple ingredients: barley pearls, fresh mint, eggs, cold smoked salmon, avocado, salad mix, green onions, mini tomatoes and the crown on top — hollandaise yogurt dressing!

– Chef Anna –

This recipe takes about 25 minutes and serves 4.

Finnish Poke Bowl Ingredients

  • 2 dl barley pearls
  • 1 l vegetable broth
  • 2-3 branches of mint
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 avocados
  • 300g cold smoked salmon
  • 8 mini tomatoes
  • 150g salad mix
  • 110g broccoli spouts or other sprouts
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 dl hollandaise sauce (see below)
  • 1dl natural yogurt

Finnish Poke Bowl Directions

Boil barley pearls as directions says on the package. When cooked drain and rinse with cold water. Add minced mint leaves with barley. Make pouched eggs. Peel and slice avocados. Cut cold smoked salmon in little cubes. Slice tomatoes. Put bowls together with barley, salmon, avocado, tomatoes, salad and sprouts. Season with salt, pepper and green onions. Mix hollandaise sauce and yogurt together and serve with bowls. Enjoy as a snack or in salads — they are wonderful as an appetizer

Hollandaise Sauce Ingredients

  • seasoning broth
  • 3 shallots
  • 1.5 dl white wine vinegar
  • 1.5 dl dry white wine
  • 3 branches of parsley
  • 10 white peppers
  • 1 whole clove
  • 160g butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tbls seasoning broth
  • 1 tbls lemon juice

Hollandaise Sauce Directions

Peel and cut onions in small pieces. Add all the broth ingredients to a pan. Boil until you have half of the ingredients left. Strain and leave it cool down.

Melt butter and let it cool off for a little bit. Pour clear part of the butter to another bowl, don’t use whey that’s left on the bottom.

Measure egg yolks and strained broth to a metal bowl. Add water to a pan and make sure your metal bowl fits properly on top of the pan without touching the water! This is super important.

Boil the water and turn off the heat. Water is supposed to steam but not to boil. Once you will only see steam coming out of the water add the metal bowl on top and whisk egg-broth mixture ALL the time until it starts getting thicker. This takes few minutes.

Add melted butter by one tablespoon at a time to egg-broth mixture. Don’t add butter too fast because then the mixture won’t get thicker. When all the butter is mixed into egg-broth mixture at last add lemon juice.


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