6/17/05 | Loco Moco
[ Currently Eating: Coffee ]
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
(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!