I have been wanting to cook an Okinawan dish for a long time now, I have almost tried on several occasions but upon entering the local San-A and being totally overwhelmed by what to buy, I change my mind. Obviously, everything is in Japanese, so even if I THINK I know what I am getting, I am never 100% sure, then of course, if I need to follow directions since being in Japanese, I chicken out.
Since this is our first Christmas on island I decided to take the plunge and just do it, so what to cook, I could have gone all traditional and ordered a KFC chicken to go. I am not joking, this is what they do for Christmas dinner; I think we will have to try this at least once while we are here. I could have gone for bowls full of mouth watering soba, but knowing how my past San-A trips have been I knew I wasn’t quite up to that challenge…yet. Instead, for Christmas Eve dinner, I cooked up the Okinawan dish “Takoraiso” a.k.a Taco Rice.
So simple yet so delicious, a meal that blends Okinawans love for rice and Americans love for tacos together! Born somewhere between 1960’s-1980’s, it seems there is some confusion when the dish was first invented, possibly by chef Matsuzo Gibo, to appeal to the Americans stationed on Okinawa.
It now appears on menus everywhere and even in mainland too. It didn’t appeal to me at first, having finally tried it, I am sold and it appears so is Eden, who on Christmas Eve broke the silence around the dinner table by saying “Mama, it doesn’t get any better than taco rice!”
Here is my super simple version, definitely not the best I have tasted, but still so delicious and quick – perfect for those busy nights!
Japanse Sticky white rice (I believe in American this is labeled as sushi rice) – we didn’t have any so I just used plain white rice.
Ground beef or if your like and want a leaner option, ground turkey is what I used and it worked great.
packet of taco season (this was my lazy option, I am sure it would be yummier if you made your own!)
cheese – I used Sargento 4 cheese mexican
1. cook rice per packet, once cooked keep hot
2. cook onion and garlic & brown meat
3. add taco seasoning and a little water
4. now that fun part, assembling…
1. put a layer of rice on each bowl/plate topped with a little cheese
2. add meat mixture on top of rice
3. add more cheese because you can never have enough cheese
4. add toppings as desired
If you try it please let me know what you think!