As the days get shorter and colder, guests are going to be turning more and more to bowls. Not just any bowls, but bowls with soul, bowls with warmth, bowls packed with ingredients and creativity.
Give these bowls a Poke
With its mixture of raw cubes of seafood in a soy sauce-based marinade, poke (pronounced “POH-keh”) is a flavour-filled version of sushi. It’s visually beautiful, healthy, easy to adapt, and very popular with Millennials looking for new and interesting ways to experience seafood.
“You’ve got sweet rice in the bottom that some operators are seasoning with togarashi and different flavours for customization,” says Philman George, corporate chef for High Liner Foods. “Add crunchy tempura bits and seaweed for a fantastic blend of textures, colours and flavours that is really enticing.”
Don’t want to use raw fish in your poke? Try fully-cooked shrimp! Check out this recipe for Soy & Togarashi Marinated Shrimp “Poke” Bowl.
- CHEF’S TIP: Strategically position your ingredients in different quadrants of the bowl to showcase the colour contrast of your protein, starch and vegetables.
Changing of the bowls
Soups aren’t the only great place to repurpose ingredients. “Offering different daily bowls is a smart way to move a lot of produce and protein,” Chef Phil says.
He suggests including sharable mini bowls in the appetizer section of the menu. “You can take what would have been a seafood chowder and turn it into a share board for three. It’s still the experience of comfort food but in a shareable format using what you already have in-house.”
Take stock of your options
Good stock adds a clean, basic flavour which can work well when you’re building your bowl. Your bowl is easier to make, so you save valuable time in the kitchen.
Today’s diners are eager for grain bowls, vegetable and gluten-free. Using a vegetable stock, you can substitute toasted quinoa for noodles and add vegetables to keep your creation healthy and on trend.
Campbell’s Foodservice suggests:
- Start with reduced sodium stock and shape flavours in a much more innovative way using great ingredients. Your guests will appreciate it.
- Ignite your creativity. Build signature bowls with Mediterranean flair, craft vegetarian soups with unique flavours like chipotle.
- Get on trend with Pho from Vietnam and curries from Singapore, Malaysia, India and Thailand.
- Be inspired with global influences like Modern Middle Eastern and North African and flavours like cinnamon, cumin, and turmeric in soups and stews.
Think globally, act locally when it comes to your bowls. Canadians are open to fusing different types of cuisines together to create a global mash-up of flavours and textures, and putting new twists on traditional breakfasts.
Hot cereal in North America is traditionally sweet, however many global hot cereal bowls are savoury.
- CHEF’S TIP: When combined with ancient grains such as quinoa, breakfast bowls have the potential to be low-carb, gluten-free and nutrient rich options for the first meal of the day.
Skhug for a kick
Think outside the box, and start your diners’ day with a traditional Middle Eastern hash. Tender chickpeas, ground lamb or beef and butternut squash seasoned with a blend of coriander, cumin and fennel are the star of the bowl. Add skhug, a popular Middle Eastern hot sauce, for a tangy-savoury spiciness, and top it off with a dollop of creamy skhug ricotta and diced cucumber.
Some (other) worldly breakfast bowls
- China: Congee/Jook: Rice porridge with egg and pork, garnished with cilantro and fried wonton.
- India: Upma: Breakfast dish made from semolina or suji, served with coconut chutney, lime slices or lime pickle.
- Middle East: H’riss: Spiced chicken and wheat porridge.
- Burbura: Sweet porridge with wheat, nuts, spices.
- Ethiopia: Genfo:Thick barley porridge often served with butter or berbere (a mixture of spices such as chilli and ginger).
- Latin America: Atole: Masa (corn hominy flour)-based, hot corn based beverage, made with piloncillo, cinnamon, vanilla and optional chocolate or fruit.
- Brazil: Angu: Cooked cornmeal flavoured with salt or chicken/beef broth. Often served with chicken and okra.
Source: McCormick Canada
About the Author
A writer, photographer and broadcaster for 30+ years, Lawrence Herzog is an experienced and accomplished communications professional with a specialty in foodservice and tourism. He was editor of Flavours magazine and contributing editor of Your Foodservice Manager magazine.