When Dan and I first started dating, he told me that he didn’t really like Asian food. Rice was too bland, and anything more adventurous than Orange Chicken was too much. His idea of Chinese food was Panda Express and the over-sweet, candy-red BBQ ribs and fried egg rolls from some place called China Villa. Spicy food gave him indigestion, and sushi (of course) was a no go because he refused to eat raw fish.
This was, as you can imagine, devastating to me. Like, almost a deal breaker. I liked Dan (a lot), but I couldn’t bring someone who didn’t even like rice home to my parents, ya know?
But more importantly, Asian food is awesome and Dan needed to know that. So I took it upon myself to re-educate his taste buds. I dragged him along to Chinese New Years dinners at family friends’ houses (where he would be obligated to at least try everything to avoid offending the hosts), cajoled him into trying Szechuan food in Chinatown, bullied him into taking me out for Korean BBQ on my birthday, fed him bites of my teriyaki chicken at lunch, and convinced him that it was OK to eat California rolls because they didn’t have raw fish so they weren’t really sushi.
To Dan’s credit, despite some initial reluctance, he was willing to at least give everything a taste. And eventually, he found things that he liked to eat!
These days, Dan eats and enjoys all manner of Asian (and non-Asian) foods. He happily scarfed down donkey, turtle stew, and roasted baby pigeon when we took him to China a few years ago; he orders pho and pork belly bahn mi’s at the Vietnamese center up the street from our condo; and, his taste for spicy food has far outstripped mine. So, Project Dan = success!
But you know when I first realized Dan that liked Asian food? It was when I sat down next to him at lunch one day in college and saw that he had voluntarily ordered the Salmon & Avocado rolls from Shinkansen and was eating them with soy sauce and wasabi like a pro.
Sushi! With raw fish! Using chopsticks! Yessssssssssssss.
This Salmon & Avocado Poke Bowl (not actually a bowl in the photos ‘cuz the bowl pictures were aggravating me) is inspired by and pays homage to Dan’s first salmon & avocado sushi roll experience. I’m also kinda sorta posting this Hawaiian recipe in the hopes that Dan’s cousin Katie will see it and be swayed to have her wedding in Hawaii next year.
I would kill to eat poke in Hawaiian. Fresh caught fish must surely taste better than the sushi-grade salmon I ordered from Amazon, right? Not that this fish didn’t taste good – cuz it did. Silky smooth/soft bites of salmon marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and chopped onions + chunks of creamy avocado = absolute heaven.
This is technically supposed to be an appetizer but it was so good we just ate giant bowls of it for lunch over rice. What I wouldn’t give for a legit fish market around here so we could eat like this everyday…
- 1 lb sushi-grade salmon
- 1 avocado, cubed
- Cooked white rice, to serve
- ½ red onion, finely diced
- ½ cup green onions, chopped
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- ⅛ cup sesame oil
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- Sesame seeds
- In a medium bowl, mix together red onion, green onion, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and ginger. Set aside.
- Remove bones and skin from your salmon, if any, and cut the fish into ¾″ chunks.
- Add fish and avocado to the bowl with the marinade. Toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Serve with extra diced green onions and sesame seeds on top of steamed white rice that has been cooled to room temperature.
(Slightly adapted from Something Is Done)