RECIPE: Sesame Tofu Poke Bowl

  • 3 min read
RECIPE: Sesame Tofu Poke Bowl


Poke is a famous Hawaiian dish that has gained international fame in recent years! And for good reason- it combines fresh vegetables and proteins for the perfect balanced meal.

This poke recipe is a modern version that is inspired by Japanese flavors and ingredients. Japanese products influenced Hawaiian poke when Japanese immigrants arrived in Hawaii, resulting in many different versions of the dish. Poke is now gaining popularity in Japan and there are many variations to explore in local restaurants in both  Hawaii and around the world!

There are key Japanese ingredients used in modern poke that give the dish a distinctly Japanese flavor. The soy sauce gives the dish a deep umami flavor that pulls together all of the ingredients. The rice vinegar provides a smooth, sweet flavor that balances the salt in the soy sauce. And the sesame oil gives the nutty, roasted flavor that grounds you and evokes a sense of comfort. Add the chopped garlic and ginger into this poke sauce as the final touch of the Japanese flavor palate!

Though poke is often known for its fresh fish, this poke recipe is vegan and uses tofu as the main ingredient. We recommend using firm or extra firm style tofu and carefully pressing it with paper towels to remove extra liquid. This will allow the tofu to stay firm and it is less likely to break apart as you mix it in.

10 minutes of marination will soak in just the right amount of flavor while saving time. Try chopping and preparing the other ingredients while the tofu marinates. And for an even deeper flavor, try marinating the tofu in the poke sauce overnight! 

You can easily mix and match the ingredients in this poke recipe with the proteins and vegetables of your choice! Serve on top of hot, fluffy rice for the perfect lunch or dinner!


Servings: 2


  • 400g tofu (firm or extra firm)
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar or lemon/lime juice
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1 inch piece of ginger (grated) 
  • ⅓ sweet onion (chopped) 
  • 2 servings cooked rice
  • ½ avocado (diced)
  • ½ cucumber (sliced)
  • ¼ red pepper (sliced)
  • ¼ yellow pepper (sliced)
  • 2-3 okra (whole, briefly boiled)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (topping)


  1. Drain and wash the tofu. Wrap in paper towel and gently squeeze to remove excess water. Dice into½ inch cubes.
  2. In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and sweet onions. Mix in the tofu and let sit for 10 mins.
  3. Separately, divide the cooked rice into two bowls. Top with the avocado, cucumber, peppers, okra , and the tofu and onion mixture from step 2 (as well as any remaining sauce). Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy!


Introduction courtesy of Kimberlee Laney

Kimberlee Laney

As a Japanese-Korean-American, my love for Japanese food first came from my grandmother's kitchen! Japanese food feels like home and I love being able to cook it anywhere in the world to connect with Japan in my own little way. I love diving deep into the layers of Japanese food and always marvel at the food diversity between prefectures. I'm currently eating my way through Tokyo and taking up photography with my Instagram account @capturingkim!

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