Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Taco Rice

The first time I came across kits for this dish, I was intrigued. Tacos...and....rice? Together? Genius.

Of course, I'm talking white rice here, Japanese style, short grain rice. And taco mix. Like, Old El Paso taco mix. This is Japanese food? Well, technically, it's Okinawan food, and it's clear to see why everyone lives so long on that island, which such lovely food to eat all the time. Wikipedia has some things to say about the provenance of this dish, and it should come as no surprise to anyone who has lived in Northeast Asia that the American military had an influence in its creation. (Remind me to tell you about budaechigae some time.)

It's a pretty simple dish to make yourself: get an Old El Paso taco mix pack, and cook up some ground beef following the instructions there. Or, if you're like me and can't afford the 700 yen/pack, you buy come cumin, chili powder, and a bag of corn chips and make do. I fry about 250g of ground beef with a tablespoon each of cumin and chili powder, plus a crushed garlic clove and salt and pepper. I layer this, salsa, shredded (iceberg, of course) lettuce, and grated cheese all over a plate of cooked rice. Then, I daringly sprinkle crushed corn chips around the perimeter to finish it off.

To gild the lily: if you're super lucky like me, and your clever husband has brought home a bag of overripe avocados that he got for the ridiculously low price of 150 yen, you make some guacamole, too. My guacamole was a bit of a legend in Incheon, South Korea, where it was possible that I was the lone person in a city of 3 million people who knew how to make it. Well, Jo liked it, anyway. My guac is super easy to make - I squash as many avocados as I can afford, with copious salt, lime juice, a bit of crushed garlic, diced red onion, and a pinch of cumin. I have no idea how authentic that is (probably wildly in-, I expect), but since it's unlikely I'll ever serve it to someone who actually does know what it's supposed to taste like, I serve it with confidence.

I made a double portion of everything, and had enough for bentos the next day.


Canadian Bento said...

I finally got to making this. DELICIOUS. Pics on my blog soon, I promise. Okinawans are ever so smart.

nakji said...

Yes, taco rice is something special. I'm glad you enjoyed it, now go spread the gospel!