Welcome to Tumbleweed Tidings, “What’s Cooking” edition, where I show you the ingredients and you guess what I’m going to make. Sound like fun? Well, let’s go! First, here are the ingredients for tonight’s mystery dinner. They include white Rice, brown gravy, ground beef patties, an egg and some seasonings. Any ideas?

After living in Hawaii for 6 1/2 years, let me introduce you to one of the island’s (and my husband’s) favorite meals; the Loco Moco. This culinary delight has been clogging the arteries of islanders for many, many years, and if you’ve never tried it, you should!

Simple ingredients make a hearty meal!

For this recipe, I am going to stay true to the purest form of the Loco Moco, and then later, I will tell you ways to embellish the basic recipe to put your own spin on it. No matter how you prepare it, the Loco Moco is usually quite “ono,” the Hawaiian word for good.

Start with the rice of your choice…
Continue to rinse until water is no longer cloudy. This still needs a couple more rinsing cycles.
Fluffy and perfect…

To begin, prepare your rice either on the stovetop or in a rice cooker. For the Jasmine Rice, I rinse the grains of rice several times until the water runs clear, removing most of the surface starch, which results in a fluffier rice. A good rule of thumb for white rice is 1 cup of rice to 1 1/2 cup water and a pinch of salt. To add more flavor to the rice, for this meal I used bone broth instead of the water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 14 minutes until the liquid water is absorbed. In the rice cooker, add rice, water and salt (omit salt if using broth.) Press the button and walk away. Either way, after the rice is done, fluff with a fork to ensure the grains aren’t sticky. Sticky rice is great for sushi, but not as nice in Loco Moco.

Gravy is heating, pan is ready for eggs, and beef patties are starting to cook…

In a medium saucepan, warm the beef gravy. I know what you’re thinking…jar gravy?! Well, in Hawaii, the custom is to use either a packaged or jar brown gravy mix. I prefer the simplicity of the jar version, and it is really quite good in this application. Adding some sauteed mushrooms to the gravy takes it up a notch but is not necessary.

Next, season the ground beef patties with salt and pepper, or seasoning salt if desired. The patties can be either barbequed or cooked on the stovetop and prepared to your desired doneness. Once the patties are cooked, cover with foil and set aside while you prepare the eggs.

Prepare the eggs to your taste…

The typical Loco Moco is served with an over-easy or sunny-side-up egg, but you can do scrambled, or over-hard. This is just a personal preference. The eggs can be seasoned with salt and pepper to taste and kept warm.

A garnish of sesame seeds and parsley make an elevated presentation…

Last, it is time to construct this masterpiece:) In a serving bowl, put a scoop of the rice in the bottom of the bowl. Top with the cooked hamburger patty and top with a ladle full of the brown gravy. Finally, top with the cooked egg, and serve with soy sauce, if desired. You can also garnish the dish with a sprinkle of parsley and sesame seeds, and then it’s time to dive in!

An island favorite!

As promised, I will give you a couple of fancier and sometimes healthier versions of the Loco Moco that some island restaurants offer that deviate from the basic version. For the rice, you can substitute brown rice for a nuttier flavor, which is quite good. Some restaurants will give you the option of brown or white rice, which is nice. For the gravy, The Beach House in Haleiwa, one of our favorite restaurants on Oahu, serves their Loco Moco with a red wine demi-glaze in lieu of the brown gravy. It is amazing and could be served as a beverage as far as I’m concerned. They also top their version with crispy potato strings, which adds a nice crunch to the dish. Other options for the protein include using a thin pork chop, fried tofu, chicken fried steak, or another island favorite, fried Spam. Yum!

So, there you have it, a Hawaiian favorite, the Loco Moco. It is a dish that is served on many island menu’s, is quick, semi-healthy, oh-so-“ono,” and it’s what’s for dinner tonight!

Good tidings,

Diane

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