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Cook Your Catch: Papaya Salad Poke Bowl

Combining the flavors of Hawaii and Thailand in a dish bursting with fresh flavors.

Cook Your Catch: Papaya Salad Poke Bowl

If you’re someone who enjoys the kind of meal that makes the tastebuds dance like rabbits in a field of clover, then this recipe is one you’ll want to commit to memory, if not your electronic recipe receptacle.

It’s a wonderful dish that celebrates the big, bright flavors of both Hawaii and Thailand, and offers the perfect balance of salty, sweet, spicy and sour. Moreover, it’s a heart-healthy dish packed with protein, vitamins and a few fun ingredients most of us don’t get to enjoy every day. Ingredients like Chinese long beans, green papaya, sticky rice and Thai chili peppers.

The other really nice thing about this dish is that, with its multiple components, it lends itself nicely to collaborative cooking – teaming up with a friend or family member to put it all together. With a rice component, a salad component and a poke component, dividing and conquering is a great way to have fun as well as put a tasty meal on the table. Join veteran outdoorsman Blaine Garrett and outdoorswoman Emily Hayes as they demonstrate how to make this delightful dish bursting with fresh flavors.


  • 2 cups long-grain Thai sticky rice
  • 3/4 pounds sushi grade salmon, cubed
  • 3/4 pounds sushi grade tuna, cubed
  • 3 to 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
  • 1/2 green papaya, peeled and shredded
  • 4 Chinese long beans, smashed and chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 Thai chili peppers, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 mango, sliced


Because this recipe has three distinct components, it’s best to break up the preparation accordingly. For the purpose of this article, we’ll first explain how to prepare the rice, then the poke and finally the papaya salad.

Making the Sticky Rice

This recipe calls for sticky rice, and because sticky rice needs to soak for several hours, you’ll want to begin that process the evening before you’re planning on having this dish.

Place the rice in a container that holds at least twice the amount of rice you will be preparing. You’ll need that room for the water. Cover your rice with about 2 to 3 inches of room-temperature water and allow it to soak for anywhere between 8 and 24 hours. The longer you soak your rice, the better the flavor and texture.

After your rice is done soaking, drain it and place it in a steamer basket over several inches of boiling water in a large pot or wok and cover it with a damp cheesecloth. Just be sure the rice isn’t touching the water. Steam the rice for approximately 15 minutes, making sure that the water doesn’t entirely boil off while it is cooking. Then turn the rice over, cooking for another 10 to 15 minutes. At this point your rice should have a shiny appearance and a chewy, yet tender texture. If necessary, add more water to the pot, being mindful once again that the water doesn’t come in direct contact with your rice. Once your sticky rice is prepared, keep it warm and covered until it’s time to eat.

Making the Poke

Begin by cutting both the salmon and tuna into 1-inch pieces and place in a medium-sized bowl. Next, add the green onion, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil. Then give everything a nice stir. And because you still need to prepare the papaya salad, go ahead and cover your bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill, allowing all those great flavors to meld together nicely. Lastly, peel the mango and cut into thin, long slices, and set aside.

Making the Papaya Salad

As the name suggests, the primary ingredient in a papaya salad is, well, a papaya. But it’s not your common variety papaya. For this recipe, you’ll need to pick up a green papaya, and the best place to find one is your closest Asian market. Unlike orange papaya, green papaya have a crunchy texture and a mild flavor.

Begin making the salad by peeling the skin off the papaya, and with the same peeler, peel the fruit of the papaya into thin shreds. For this recipe, you’ll only need to peel about a half pound of shredded papaya.

Then, with the side of a chef’s knife, smash the beans, slice them into 2-inch pieces and add to your bowl. Next, add the tomato, garlic, Thai chili peppers, sugar, fish sauce, salt and lime juice. Mix everything up and pop it into the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes to chill the salad and keep things nice and crunchy. This is a dish that not only celebrates a lot of wonderful flavors, but it also celebrates a variety of textures and temperatures.

Put it Together and Serve

With your rice, poke and salad all prepared, it’s time to plate your meal, serve and enjoy. Begin by putting a couple of scoops of the warm sticky rice in one corner of the bowl. Next to the rice, add some of your crunchy papaya salad, and in the remaining area of your bowl, dish out a scoop or two of the poke. Garnish with a few slices of your fresh mango, wrangle the troops and get ready to be delighted.

Cook Your Catch: Papaya Salad Poke Bowl
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