Imitation crab poke bowl with our own spicy crab salad sushi and homemade poke bowl sauce! This dish has mostly storebought ingredients with a few quick things to prepare for extra fun and special weeknight sushi bowls at home.
...what can I say except, you're welcome?
We've been watching a lot of Moana around here lately. Which is PERFECT for this island fusion bowl to start your week, theme movie + dinner totally unplanned.
Obviously it goes without saying that the Moana-obsessed toddler in this house would turn her nose up in disgust at the lack of only crackers in this bowl, but it's developmentally appropriate to be a total ass about diverse foods at this age, so I forgive her.
People over 2, however, you will adore this. It starts with THE most popular recipe on the site, this spicy crab salad. I know there are many that turn their nose up at anything with fake crab and mayo calling itself sushi, and that's fine. But-however-also, this stuff is popular for good reason: it's delicious, and so simple to make on your own.
I love spicy crab ANYTHING when we order sushi, right next to my all-raw authentic fare, but the ingredients are so simple and cheap that it seems silly to save spicy crab for special sushi nights.
Enter, poke bowls! All the rage, tons of ways to make them, add as many toppings as your heart desires.
Poke is a style of food found often in Hawaii that includes sushi rice, some raw veggies, and fish marinated in a thickened soy-based poke bowl sauce.
In restaurants with less-traditional options, protein options can vary from chicken to shrimp to raw salmon or tuna.
Toppings can include fish roe, avocado, sesame seeds, edamame, and about any other fresh sushi fillings you can think of.
How To Make Crab Salad Poke: Recipe Notes
- I went with no raw fish here because I know it can be tough to find and intimidating to mess with at home.
- All you have to "make" here is the sushi rice, spicy crab, and sweet soy drizzle. Everything else is chopping and opening containers; pickles, seaweed salad, and any fresh items you love in sushi or on poke bowls.
- The rice is short Japanese rice cooked and then mixed with a tiny bit of sugar and rice vinegar - I work on this first so the rice is warm but not hot when the rest of the components are ready.
Poke Bowl Sauce Ingredients
For the sauce! Rice vinegar, soy sauce, corn starch, mirin, brown sugar. Mirin is sweet cooking rice wine and has a pretty specific flavor, so buy some if you've never used it! It makes things super Asian-y and delicious.
Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a COLD sauce pan. Whisk the cornstarch to dissolve it, then turn the heat to medium. Let the sauce very gently come to a simmer, then turn off the heat after a minute or so. Let the sauce cool to room temperature, it will thicken as it cools.
This is sometimes called sweet soy in poke restaurants, and it's really, really yummy.
How To Make Spicy Crab Salad
The spicy crab salad is SO simple, I can't stress it enough. Three ingredients. Imitation crab, mayonnaise (this is Japanese Kewpie mayo which is suuuuuper yummy), and sriracha.
I do prefer to use the Japanese mayo here because it has such a distinct flavor, but I find it more and more often at regular grocery stores. It's a great ingredient to keep on hand for lots of Asian fusion recipes.
Shred or chop the crab and combine it with the mayo and sriracha, then taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference - the measurements below make for a fairly spicy crab so use less sriracha to start if you aren't sure. The crab and poke sauce can be made in advance of making the bowls, even a day or two beforehand.
Pro Tip for Crab Salad that IS NOT Spicy: Mix the imitation crab with mayo, and add 1 teaspoon of rice or white vinegar. Skip the sriracha. That's it!
Build Your Poke Bowl
Poke Bowl Ingredients:
The rest of the ingredients are already made, and you can mix and match based on what you like.
- I use fresh spinach or another green, anything you have on hand
- Seaweed salad (I find this in the freezer sections of Whole Foods and similar stores)
- Sliced scallions
- Spiralized or grated carrots
- Sesame oil, sesame seeds, Japanese pickles (I keep various kinds in the fridge always), and extra sriracha for the brave among us.
Build your crab poke bowl however you'd like, and finish with a drizzle of the poke bowl sauce.
This is so much fun because you can do extra rice or not much at all for a lower carb option, add any other kinds of veggies you like, even avocado for some healthy fat + creaminess.
Variation: Add Raw Fish
If you'd like to use raw fish by all means do so; toss some cubes of fish in the homemade poke sauce a bit before serving to marinate slightly. I would do this about 30 minutes before serving, and YUM.
I love this because it can be served cold or at room temp, and all of the ingredients can be prepped in advance for a FAST lunch or dinner throw-together situation. I've also served this with warm side dishes - hibachi vegetables are my favorites to go with this poke bowl.
Perfect for million degree days, pairs well with beer.
Enjoy! (and enjoy the original spicy crab salad recipe post here.)
Spicy Crab Poke Bowls
- 1 cup short-grain sushi rice
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
Poke Bowl Sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons mirin
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon cornstarch
Spicy Crab Salad
- 8 ounces imitation crab meat shredded or chopped
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise Japanese-style if you can find it
- 2 tablespoons sriracha more or less to taste
Poke Bowls (use any you like)
- seaweed salad
- sliced scallions
- sliced cucumbers
- julienned carrots
- cubed avocado
- fresh spinach leaves
- pickled daikon or other Japanese pickles
- sesame oil
- sesame seeds
- Make the rice per the package directions. When cooked, sprinkle in the vinegar and sugar. Stir very gently with a fork or paddle to combine. Taste, and add more vinegar or sugar to your preference. Let the rice cool slightly so it is warm but not hot when you're ready to serve.
- Whisk all of the sauce ingredients in a small cold sauce pan. Turn the heat to medium and bring the sauce to a simmer. Simmer for one minute, stirring, then turn the heat off. Let the sauce sit and cool while you prep the rest of the bowl ingredients.
- Assemble the bowls with a bed of rice and/or spinach, top with spicy crab and any other toppings you'd like. Drizzle with the poke sauce and serve immediately with cold ingredients over warm rice. Enjoy!