Okinawa is a subtropical island south of Japan with a large US military presence. It is also home to Takoraisu. Takoraisu was created in the 1980s as a combination of the Japanese rice bowl (Donburi) and the Tex-Mex flavors introduced by the Americans. It soon became a favorite with military members stationed on the island and is now one of the most popular Okinawan dishes.
Steamed Japanese short-grain rice (sushi rice) is covered with seasoned ground beef, then topped with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, salsa, and sour cream. It is great as a comfort food or for a quick weeknight meal.
Marc has also recently posted a version with crispy rice. Looking for other international fusion dishes featuring taco flavors as the base? The Swedish also have the interesting Tacopaj (Taco Quiche).
Takoraisu (Okinawan Taco Rice)
Adapted from Marc Matsumoto
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tablespoon chili powder (American chili powder, not ground red chile)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sake
1/2 pound ground beef
3 cups cooked Japanese short-grain rice
2 cups shredded lettuce (generally iceberg)
2 tomatoes, diced
3 1/2 ounces cheddar or low sodium mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup sour cream
In a large pan, drizzle oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Cook until just fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring and breaking up into little pieces, until browned. Stir in the tomato paste, soy sauce, and sake. Continue to cook until the liquid as dissolved. Remove from heat. Season with additional salt and chili powder if needed.
Divide the rice among serving bowls. Top with the seasoned beef, then desired toppings- lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, salsa, and sour cream. Serve immediately.