Takoraisu (Okinawan Taco Rice)

2 lbs ground beef
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried onion
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 cup water

to serve:
freshly cooked, hot Japanese rice (may be labeled sushi rice)
shredded iceberg lettuce
shredded quesadilla or cheddar cheese
1-pint cherry tomatoes, halved

In a large skillet, saute the onion and garlic in a small amount of oil until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the ground beef, soy sauce and spices. Saute, breaking up any chunks of meat with a spoon, until nearly fully cooked. Add the water and simmer until the water has evaporated.

Serve over rice, topped with salsa, lettuce, tomato, and cheese.

Note: Feel free to use my homemade taco seasoning mix in this recipe.

My thoughts:

I came across Japanese taco rice in something I was reading recently and was intrigued. I love unexpected fusion foods like this so I knew I had to make it. The US military has a strong presence in Okinawa thanks to our military base there for decades. With that comes a lot of military personnel who want a taste of home in Japan. A number of restaurants popped up catering to this, even a taco restaurant back in the 1950s but it wasn’t until the 1980s a chef thought to put it on rice. It is basically a Tex-Mex donburi and is super satisfying. Think of the American style tacos of your childhood mixed with Japanese-style comfort food. It is the perfect dish for a rainy day.

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