Dragon Fruit Tofu Poke Tower is a plant-based version of an unforgettable dish I polished off in sunny Lahaina town. I was sitting at a table on an outdoor deck perched above the lapping sea waves. Everything about the environment awakened my senses to fully enjoy my appetizer. The restaurant is long since gone, but you can tell the memory of that first scrumptious poke tower has lingered.
I appreciated how neatly the plate was stacked with rice, avocado, and tuna poke. Plus, I thought the spicy, creamy sauce was a brilliant accompaniment. To be sure, every bell was rung for flavor and texture with the crispy taro chips served on the side.
So, where are we today? Well, the tuna is gone, and the dish is a gorgeous vegan remake. You’ll be happy to know I’ve kept the remaining winning elements. Moreover, I’ve kicked it up a notch with nutritious black rice, bold marinated diced tofu and dazzling pink dragon fruit slices. Now it’s seriously delicious and filling enough to be a main dish with shredded carrot and fresh greens finishing the stack.
You won’t believe how sensational the juicy dragon fruit slices taste holding the tower together. Their tiny crunchy seeds mingle with the smooth avocado, toothsome rice, and luscious sriracha mayo. Just when their delicate snap disappears, you’ve got a bite of taro chip to bring it all back.
You can toss the taro chips any old way you like on your plate. However, if you want your poke tower to line up in beautiful, meticulous layers, you’ll want to use a food ring. Because I spent years working in restaurants, it’s only natural to find such an item in my kitchen drawer. They aren’t expensive to buy and are so handy for nailing food presentation when you want to impress.
But what if you don’t have one lying around? I’ll bet you are impatient to try this mouth-watering recipe. You can use a smooth-sided tin can with both ends removed. The squat cans that water chestnuts come in are an easy solution. Even a short section of 3 1/2 inch wide PVC pipe can suffice.
Let me know if you come up with your own clever substitute for a food ring. Rest assured that messy or neat, this Dragon Fruit Tofu Poke Tower will have your taste buds dancing. Oh, and lest I forget. Make sure you pronounce poke as poh-KAY. Then you’ll be stylin’ Hawaiian with your ono grindz.
Dragonfruit Tofu Poke Tower
- 1/2 tsp. dry hiziki seaweed optional
- 2 TB soy sauce or tamari for gluten-free
- 1 TB toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. fresh ginger juice
- 1/16 tsp. gochugaru red chili powder
- 1 cup diced medium-firm tofu, squeezed dry
- 2/3 cup diced avocado
- 2 TB chopped green onion
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 2/3 cup cooked black rice
- 1 large dragon fruit
- 1 small carrot, grated or spiralized
- 1 cup mizuna or asian salad greens
- 2 TB vegan mayonnaise
- 2 tsp. sriracha or garlic chili paste
- 1 oz. taro chips
- 1 tsp. black or white sesame seeds
- Cover dry hiziki if using with water and let soak.
- Wrap tofu in a thin cloth or paper towels and press to remove as much water as possible.
- Whisk soy sauce, sesame oil, tomato paste, ginger juice and gochugaru chili powder in a medium sized bowl. Stir in diced tofu.
- Squeeze water from soaked hiziki. Add hiziki to marinated tofu.
- Mix diced avocado, green onion and lemon juice in a small bowl.
- Slice unpeeled dragon fruit into 1/4 inch thick slices with a sharp knife. Carefully peel away skin. Peel and shred or spiralize carrot.
- Mix vegan mayonnaise and sriracha together in a small bowl.
Assemble Poke Towers
- Lay a piece of dragonfruit on a flat cutting board. Place a food ring or can with both ends removed over dragonfruit. Ring should be the same size as dragonfruit, or slightly smaller. You can use the sharp edges of ring to cut a perfect circle. Then remove excess fruit from outside of ring.
- Next add 1/3 cup of black rice. Use a flat bottomed glass to pack the rice evenly over dragon fruit. Add 1/2 cup marinated tofu. Press gently. Top tofu with avocado mixture and even top. Finally add a second slice of dragon fruit to finish layers.
- Leaving ring on tower, slide a thin wide spatula under bottom of dragonfruit. Transfer tower to a serving plate with spatula. Gently lift off food ring. Repeat assembly for second tower.
- Garnish plates with Asian greens, shredded carrot and taro chips. Drizzle dragon fruit towers with sriracha mayo and sprinkle with sesame seed.