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Archives for Rice

6/17/05 | Loco Moco

[ Currently Eating: Coffee ]

Loco Moco

You are probably looking at the above picture on your screen and wondering if I’ve lost my marbles. What in the world is a Loco Moco and did you make that up?

Nope, this is a real dish and contrary to your first impression is not a Mexican or Spanish dish (at least I don’t think it is). Nor does it have anything to do with El Pollo Loco. There’s no chicken in it.

This is actually a “Hawaiian” dish that I’ve been eating for a long time (my dad’s side is from Kona). I think they’ve always sold it over there, but recently there has been a huge influx of Hawaiian BBQ restaurants into the area where I live. This is the latest fad in California (and a few other Western states); everyone and their mom wants to open one of these Hawaiian BBQ deals (a big chain that came over from Hawaii is called L&L) nowadays because they have been making a huge amount of money, primarily because people on the Atkins diet can gorge themselves off the meat heavy menu.

Not every Hawaiian BBQ chain sells Loco Moco, but most have something similar. So what is in this “crazy booger” of a meal? Why, it is a veritable layered heart attack on a plate. The usual consists of 2 scoops of Japanese sticky rice on a plate. Layer on TWO grilled or fried hamburger steaks, then add TWO fried eggs on top, and then douse the whole thing with artery clogging brown gravy. Sometimes there is a scoop of macaroni salad on the side. Whew, I rarely finish the whole thing when I eat it at a restaurant; it’s just too much.

Which is why I make a “mini” version at home. It’s slightly better for your arteries as well. The key for me is: less meat, less eggs, more gravy. Indeed, you can barely see the hamburger underneath the gravy. Here is how it goes:

Loco Moco Mini

1-2 cups cooked sticky rice — $0.15
1 egg — $0.10
1/4 lb hamburger meat — $0.50
1/4 brown onion, sliced — $0.15
3-5 mushrooms, sliced — $0.25
1/4 cup flour — $0.05
1/3 can chicken stock — $0.15
1 tbsp Bread crumbs — $0.03
Dash soy sauce — $0.02
2 tbsp oil — $0.05
Salt / pepper / water — negligible

Total: $1.45

(If hamburger meat is frozen, gently defrost on plate in 1 minute intervals… you don’t want to cook it!)

Warm up the rice in microwave if cold. Spread out the rice fairly thinly on a large plate and set aside. Heat a small pan on high. Mix the hamburger meat, bread crumbs, soy sauce, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Form a “patty” that is not round like a hamburger but elongated, like a Salisbury Steak almost. It should be very thin, so it will cook fast.

When pan is hot, add 1/2 tbsp of oil and sizzle that hamburger patty, about 1 minute on either side. It should be nice and chared. Remove to the plate on top of the rice and put it in the oven to rest. Now, DON’T wash the pan… add 1 tbsp of the oil in the pan and throw in the sliced onions and mushrooms. Sizzle that for about 5 minutes on medium or until onions are soft.

Meanwhile, get another small non-stick pan going with 1/2 tbsp of oil. Crack an egg in there and fry it, turning once through the cooking, until done as desired. Put that egg on top of the hamburger patty and put it back in the oven.

Returning to the onions and mushrooms – reduce heat to low and sprinkle flour evenly over mixture. DON’T mix it yet; let it stand there for about 3-5 minutes. This will cook the flour, preventing the gravy from tasting flour-ey. Now increase the heat to medium and slowly add chicken stock in thin stream, stirring frequently with wooden spoon. You may need more or less liquid to get the desired thickness. When gravy is done, add some black pepper to it, pour it over the hamburger/egg and you have a mini loco moco!

Continue reading “Loco Moco” …

5/27/05 | Bologna Fried Rice

[ Currently Eating: Bologna Sandwich ]

Bologna Fried Rice

I know what you’re thinking. Bologna in FRIED RICE!? Hey, open up your mind a little. After all, what is fried rice anyhow but taking a kitchen sink of leftovers that includes rice and cooking it up in a wok? There are a billion ways to make fried rice and since I tend to have a lot of leftover rice all the time (Asian family, hehe) in the fridge, inevitably this type of meal appears on the table every other week or so.

Most types of Fried Rice feature one or more “main” ingredients such as beef, pork, chicken, fish or shrimp. When I’m in a hurry and don’t have time to defrost and prepare these types of meats, I reach for the old standby, lunchmeat. I’ve made fried rice with diced ham, cooked chicken, turkey lunchmeat, hot dogs, and of course bologna. It actually is not bad for a quick meal.

One of the keys with fried rice is NOT to cook it in a wok, unless you’ve got an extremely high powered stove and the metal wok “holder” that lets you get high temperatures. I think I saw this on TV once… basically if you can’t get the wok hot enough it doesn’t distribute the heat as well or something. I think a non-stick skillet actually works fine and is less messy.

Bologna Fried RiceThe other issue I know is the type of rice. I actually like fried rice that almost tastes like a pilaf… in other words it’s more stuck together instead of individual grains. But you can do whatever you like. If you use American rice or Uncle Ben’s your rice will most likely be looser than if you use Japanese sticky rice which is what’s in my cupboard.

It’s also difficult to make fried rice with “new” rice straight out of the pot. I always use leftover rice (a big hint is to break up refrigerated rice prior to putting it in the pan!), but I think if you must use hot rice then you should cool it first by spreading it out on a cookie sheet and maybe popping it in the freezer or something…

By the way, since I stress leftover rice I’m going to call it free for the purposes of this recipe. See, leftovers are good!

Bologna Fried Rice

Leftover rice, about 2-3 cups (free)
Bologna (3 slices of $2.50 pack) — $0.30
1 egg (from $1.50 dozen) — $0.12
1/4 brown onion, chopped — $0.15
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped — $0.12
1/2 pkg chinese mustard greens — $0.12
1 green onion stalk (from $.40 bunch) — $0.05
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced — $0.05
Vegetable Oil (1 tbsp of bottle) — $0.05
Soy sauce (1.5 tbsp of gallon can) — $0.05
Fish sauce (1 tsp of $1.00 bottle) — $0.05
Sesame Oil (1 tbsp of bottle) — $0.07
Sriracha or Hot Sauce (1/2 tsp) — $0.05
Chicken stock (2 tbsp) — $0.03
Salt / pepper — negligible

Total: $1.16

Note you can easily omit any number of the wet ingredients if they aren’t available. Also for drier rice, use less chicken stock and a little more salt.

Mix soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, and chicken stock together in small bowl and set aside. Beat egg lightly in a bowl and add a pinch of salt. Chop up bologna and mustard greens.

Heat a large skillet for a few minutes on high heat. Add vegetable oil and fry bologna for 1 minute. Add egg and stir briskly with wooden spoon to make something like scrambled eggs. Add brown onion, red pepper, chinese mustard greens, and jalapeno. Stir fry this for at least 2 minutes, add a touch more oil if needed.

Add rice to pan and stir to combine ingredients. I like the texture of somewhat “crunchy” toasted rice so when combined I leave it sitting there spread out in the pan without stirring for a minute or so. Then I continue cooking for about 3 minutes.

Add the wet ingredients to the pan. I like to make a little well in the center of the pan and pour it right directly on the pan… I feel it stops the rice from becoming too wet. Mix the rice well and cook for another 3 minutes. If you like you can leave it sitting there to get some further crunch. Off heat add black pepper and salt to taste and serve while hot!

Continue reading “Bologna Fried Rice” …



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