What is loco moco?
Loco moco is a Hawaiian dish prepared with white rice, ground beef steak and fried egg, all topped with gravy. It is also the name of a chain of Hawaiian restaurants offering a variety of local rice dishes. This is an inexpensive dish, easy and quick to make and containing only ingredients that are almost always available at home which makes this dish extremely popular. Highly rich in protein, the loco moco is particularly nourishing.
How to make loco moco
The preparation of the loco moco begins with the cooking of the rice which is done simply with water. It can also be prepared using a pilaf method. The rice thus cooked is set aside and kept hot. Separately, the butter is melted in a saucepan. Flour is added to make a roux that will give a smooth texture and a binder to the sauce. You need to pour beef broth over, and whisk regularly to obtain a homogeneous mixture. The sauce should then cook for about twenty minutes over low heat so that it becomes smooth and thick enough. You can add a little cornstarch or any other binder if you want to get a thicker sauce.
The beef patties are made with meat and onion, simply seasoned with salt and pepper. The patties are cooked in butter. Fried eggs are also prepared separately. The rice is placed in the center of the plate, topped with a steak, the gravy and a fried egg. This dish is eaten immediately and can not be reheated.
In the Pacific Islands, ready-to-use loco moco sauce similar to beef gravy can easily be found. This gravy can be simply reheated in a bain-marie and poured on the dish at the last moment. Generally, these pre-made sauces are slightly sticky and not really appealing, which is why it is always recommended to make the loco moco gravy at home.
What is the origin of loco moco?
According to James Kelly, a professor at the University of Hawaii-Hilo, loco moco would be the creation of the Inouye family, owner of the Lincoln Grill restaurant in Hilo. In 1949, a group of young athletes from the Lincoln Wreckers club would have asked Nancy Inouye to add rice to a bowl, a beef patty over the rice and gravy on top. She offered them this dish at the price of 25 cents.
One of the athletes named George Okimoto was nicknamed “crazy” by his colleagues, for his way of playing football. In Spanish, crazy becomes loco. Moco does not mean anything but rhymes with loco. So this dish became the loco moco. Initially, this dish was not on the menu of the Lincoln Grill but with its popularity among members of the team, it became a classic of the restaurant. The eggs were added later to the recipe. For Spanish speakers, the name of this dish may seem special because moco means “snot” or “mucus”, so loco moco could be translated as “crazy snot”.
There are many variants of loco moco. For example it can be enriched with ham, grilled bacon, spam, Hawaiian-style pork, shrimp, oysters, Portuguese sausage, beef or chicken teriyaki or mahi-mahi, a tropical fish close to sea bream.
To bring a little freshness, add finely chopped cilantro, parsley, or chives at the last moment. Loco moco can also be served with a spicy sauce.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1½ cup white rice (long grain)
- 2 cups beef broth
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 white onion , chopped
- 5 tablespoons butter
- Cook the rice in a pot with boiling water, according to the instructions of the package.
- Drain and keep warm.
- In a non-stick cooking pot over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour, mix well and cook, stirring to make a roux.
- Add the beef broth and simmer for 20 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring regularly until thickened.
- Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
- If the sauce is not thick enough, add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch diluted in a little hot water and stir until thickened.
- Mix the onion and the ground beef, then season with salt and pepper.
- With your wet hands, form 4 hamburger patties.
- Add 1 tablespoon of butter to a pan and melt on low heat.
- Add the beef patties and cook covered, about 3 minutes on each side for rare steaks (or more according to taste).
- Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons of butter to a pan and fry the eggs for about 3 minutes.
- Add rice to the center of each plate.
- Place the hamburger patty on top.
- Top with the gravy and finally place a fried egg on top of the steak.
- Serve immediately.