Recipes: How to Make & Flavor Poke Rice, Chikarashi-Style
The central element to good poke is rice.
At Chikarashi, Chef Michael Jong Lim took a few weeks to develop their special shari or sushi rice recipe reimagined for poke, flavoring the grains with the chef's own seasoned vinegar. Essentially, the vinegar recipe is a blend of salt, kombu, rice vinegar, mirin, sake and sugar. It's added to the rice after cooking, giving the rice base a light zing which compliments the flavor of the poke and pickled vegetables. The chef tells me that the poke rice is so good customers come in just to buy the rice! I don't think there could be a better compliment. Although Chef Michael wouldn't quite share his exact secret recipe for the seasoned vinegar, he was more than happy to give tips on getting your rice cooked just right.
In the documentary about Chikarashi this week, Chef Michael mentions the one - and only one - rice brand he uses for good poke: Tamaki Gold Koshihikari Rice from California. I was able to find this award-winning rice at Midoriya Japanese market and Sunrise Mart in New York City, but I also see you can buy it on Amazon too. Look for it.
Rinse uncooked Koshihikari rice in water 7 times - gently rubbing the grains together, called "polishing".
In the first rinse, remember to toss the water quickly or the starch will absorb into the rice.
Once rinsed and drained, place rice into rice cooker.
Cook the rice in a ratio of 1.1 cups water to 1 cup rice.
While the rice is cooking, flambé the sake in a shallow pan. When the alcohol cooks out, add the sugar, rice vinegar, salt, kombu and mirin. Stir all together. Put aside.
After the rice has finished cooking, allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
Measure out 4 cups of cooked rice.
Put the rice in a large bowl and spread evenly.
Add the seasoned rice vinegar to the rice to make the flavored rice.
Cut/or mix seasoned rice with a wooden rice spoon and allow to cool to bellow body temperature.
Once cooled, flip over the rice and break up the clumps with the spoon. Collect flavored rice into your rice warmer and lay a moist towel on top until you are ready to assemble your poke bowl.