Welcome back, friends. I hope everyone had a fantastic festive break and your New Year is treating you with kindness. I have had my head down working on my cookbook and trying to balance my family. So far, I have managed to not completely alienate my daughter so, so far so good. Other than recipe testing, I am trying to spend less time in the kitchen making mainly raw dishes – it’s hot here. This sesame miso watermelon poke is a new favourite. With lightly cured watermelon in an umami loaded sesame miso dressing, this poke is an effortless sweet and savoury bite.
If you haven’t tried a poke (pronounced pho-kay), you’ve probably been living in my bubble. While I’ve heard of it, I didn’t get around to making one until now. Poke bowls are basically sushi and a nourish or Buddha bowl combined containing raw fish – salmon or tuna, sushi rice, avocado and a soy-based dressing of some sort. Originating in Hawaii, the dish was traditionally made by fishermen who used trimmings from their catch of “ahi” tuna with seaweed and onions. Served on a bowl of rice with soy sauce and sesame oil, poke is attributed to the Japanese migrants who worked on the Hawaiian pineapple and sugar cane plantations from the 1880s onwards (www.delicious.com.au).
In recent years, poke has become hugely popular ticking all the healthy-eating dietary boxes with each bowl containing a lean protein, healthy fat and gluten-free grains.
This vegan version ticks all my boxes. Inspired by a sesame watermelon poke recipe I found on Bon Appetite, my sesame miso watermelon poke takes a few shortcuts by omitting any grilling or marinade reduction relying on curing instead. I found a few hours in the fridge was more than enough to create flavour-packed watermelon with a soft outer and contrasting bitey centre. I used miso instead of tahini but that’s simply a matter of taste. I also subbed out traditional rice for more protein-dense quinoa. Perfectly suited to my current hands-off cooking philosophy, this poke bowl is bursting with delicious umami-ness and sweetness. If you like un-cooking, you are going to love this.
Cured fresh watermelon, sweet and salty miso, nutty sesame with creamy avocado and fresh herbs, this sesame miso watermelon poke is going in the back pocket. As soon as I take of my pyjamas.
Sesame Miso Watermelon Poke
Yield 3 serves
This sesame miso watermelon poke is an effortless combination of sweet watermelon and umami loaded sesame and miso.
- 500 grams seedless watermelon, skin removed and cut in to 1 cm cubes
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tbs sesame oil
- 2 tbs tamari
- 1 1/2 tbs fresh lime juice
- 1 tbs white miso paste
- 2 cm ginger thumb, finely grated
- 1 avocado
- fresh baby coriander or regular coriander
- 2-3 cups cooked quinoa to serve
- spring onions (scallions) finely sliced to serve - optional
- Place the cubed watermelon in a medium bowl.
- Combine the vinegar, sesame oil, tamari, lime juice, miso and ginger in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour the marinade over the watermelon and cover the bowl with film. Place in the fridge to "cure" for at least an hour and up to four. Gently stir one or twice.
- Spoon a cup of quinoa in to a bowl, followed by a few good spoons of the watermelon. Add cubed avocado and sprinkle with fresh herbs. To finish, drizzle with a little more of the marinade.