Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Taco Rice

No more bento until next week due to the holiday and the kids being out of school! So I thought I would post what I made for dinner since it is a traditional Okinawan meal.

Taco Rice is a Japanese dish and a popular example of Okinawan cuisine. It consists of taco-flavoured ground beef served on a bed of rice and lettuce, frequently also served together with tomato, cheese and topped off with salsa. Occasionally, it might be served, with rice and all, in a tortilla roll. It is a very common meal on Okinawa, and is often served as school lunch.
Occasionally, the ingredients of taco meat, rice, and cheese are combined, dipped in batter, and fried into a "taco rice and cheese" ball, served with plenty of ketchup. This is especially popular at some of the local outlets in Kin, just outside of Camp Hansen in Okinawa.
KFC put taco rice on its menu in all of Japan in 1996, and Yoshinoya (nationwide gyudon restaurant) serves it in the chain's Okinawan restaurants since 2004. It is one of the most well-known dishes of the Okinawan cuisine outside of Okinawa.
Legend has it that the dish was created in the 1960s by a local chef in Kin, Okinawa, home to one of the United States Marine Corps bases, who combined the Tex-Mex dish, which was very popular among the American Marines, with the staple diet of Okinawa, rice.
The Tex-Mex–flavour is sometimes emulated through the use of soy sauce, mirin and sake.
I make my Taco Rice just as I would make Tacos minus the taco shells! I season the beef with cumin, black pepper, salt and some garlic powder. I use steamed rice and we like to use hot taco sauce to spice it up! Both of the kids love it (but no hot sauce for them)!