The ExPat Returneth

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Quick & Easy Taco Rice -- Japan via Okinawa -- Your Family's New Favorite Meal

I was going to write something pithy this week, but I'm not feeling the pithy vibe. I don't feel like cooking, cleaning, or anything house related. I'm almost finished with a first draft of another novel and all I want to do is write (except for my Pinterest and Facebook addictions).
Beautifully simple Taco Rice

So this week we are having Takoraisu: Taco Rice. I could make Taco Rice every week, and my family would happily kiss the rice cooker. We love Taco Rice so, so much. And you will, too, if you like tacos and rice. And since we're talking Japanese food, I don't mean octopus (tako in Japanese). 

But tacos and rice, you say? How can it be that easy? It can. It's not even saffron rice. Just plain ol' short-grained rice. But you can do the long grained thing if you're into that. 

Taco Rice is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. The tasty dish hails from Okinawa. Presumably American marines brought it to the islands, combining the beloved American taco with the beloved Okinawan rice. Another reason to love the US troops.

Here's our little Taco Rice story. While living in Japan, our family happened on a restaurant called Yummy. (There are always restaurants named something like Yummy in Japan. It's how Japan works). Yummy served a variety of Okinawan and Hawaiian style food in a sort of fast food type setting. 
Yummy's Bible
I like their style
Eldest daughter scanned the menu hanging on the wall. "I want taco rice." 

"Remember, you don't like octopus," I said. "You said it tastes like erasers." 

"No, look," she replied, pointing to the picture of a bowl with something like tortilla chips, cheese, and salsa spilling over the rim. (In Japan, there are always pictures or plastic replicas of food at restaurants. Very handy).

We bought her taco rice because we are obliging parents and eldest daughter always eats well.

Of course, we tried her taco rice and loved it. And she will forever remind us that we are indebted to her for introducing taco rice to our family. 

Tasty Kitchen also has a post on Takoraisu with beautiful pictures. I took Yummy's idea and made it my way.

Taco Rice

Hot cooked rice
Your favorite taco ingredients minus the tortillas or taco shells
Add your favorite taco ingredients on top of the hot cooked rice

How simple is that? 

More specifically:
I usually make 2 go of rice in my rice cooker, which equals about 1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice. Make the amount of rice you normally use for a side dish.

Cooking the meat, onions
and seasoning
1 lb. of ground meat (turkey, beef, &/or pork)
chopped onion
taco seasoning

Cook the chopped onion and meat. Drain the fat. Add the taco seasoning as directed on the package.

Your favorite taco condiments (for example):
Adding the taco meat on top of the rice
shredded cheese
sour cream
sliced olives

chopped tomato
chopped lettuce
tortilla chips

Put whatever you like on top of the rice. It's not rocket science. 
Which is why I love Taco Rice. 
Enjoy! Salud! Kampai!


  1. You are introducing me to so many yummy new things..Thank you.

  2. Thanks Savannah! Hope you enjoy them!

  3. Who could not like a restaurant called Yummy? I certainly would try it. That dish looks delicious and I just finished my lunch. My appetite has no end.

  4. Thanks Brinda! My appetite has the same problem.;)

  5. I've made mock Spanish rice with long grain and a packet of Taco Bell seasoning mix. Added diced tomatoes, chilies, onions and cilantro. Never thought about adding ground meat to it...I like this. A balanced one bowl meal.

    Guess what we're having tomorrow night? :)

  6. I'll have to remember that next time I make Spanish rice. Good idea, Jen! I use Penzey's Taco seasoning. It's really good & they have different levels of heat.

  7. Oh yum, this will be a new family favorite. Thanks for sharing.