Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Crazy Curry Loco Moco Recipe

I’m tapping into my island roots for this latest recipe. Full disclosure: I’ve never eaten a “loco moco,” which is the Hawaiian creation of a bowl of rice, a hamburger patty, a fried egg, all topped off with a heaping pour of brown gravy.

This iconic Hawaii lunch dish is so Hawaii in many ways: 1) it’s a mixture of cultures with the Asian influence of steamed rice and the Western influence of hamburger, and 2) it involves thick brown gravy, which for some reason people in Hawaii love to lather their food in some kind of sauce.

So I never really ate a loco moco growing up in Hawaii because it just seemed like a cholesterol killer with all the starch and the protein-plus from the beef and egg. Also, I never took afternoon naps and undoubtedly a nap is required if you ate a whole bowl of loco moco.

Still, recently I was thinking of a loco moco (I think it was the extra eggs and ground meat I had), and thought I could make it even more loco if I replaced the brown gravy with curry.

You’re welcome.

So here’s how it turned out. Because to make a loco moco is really an assembling of parts, this recipe is explained in steps.

Step 1: Steamed rice

This is pretty easy. You just throw some rice into your rice cooker and then scoop it into a bowl. If you don’t have a rice cooker, buy one. It makes life so convenient. But if you really don’t know how to cook rice, you basically put a cup of long grain rice into a pot after you’ve rinsed it a few times, then pour enough water so that there’s a 1/4-inch layer of water on top of the leveled rice. Then bring to boil and reduce to a simmer and cook covered for about 20 minutes until the water has evaporated. Then just fluff it up. (Tip: You might want to leave the pot cover slightly ajar to let some steam out.) I used brown rice in this case because I find it healthier, but traditionalists would probably argue that you need steamed white rice for a loco moco.

Step 2: The hamburger patty

Get about 6 ounces of ground meat. You can use any kind but I know the traditionalists will say ground beef. You can do the trick that a lot of cooks do, which is create a blend of ground chuck and sirloin. I actually used ground turkey because, again, I wanted to be healthy.

I seasoned my ground meat with a dash of soy sauce (you can add a pinch of salt instead) and simply shaped it into a ball and pressed down until it looked like a hamburger patty. I didn’t add anything else, and really you don’t need to. Then I just seared it in a pan, cooking for about 4-5 minutes on each side until nicely browned. Then you just place it on top of your rice.

Step 3: The fried egg

Now, I’ve seen the fried egg presented in a variety of ways. I’ve seen it fried and sunny-side up, just don’t do scrambled. Fry up one egg however you like and then place it on the top.

Step 4: The curry sauce

This is the final step. The traditional loco moco, like I’ve said, would pour brown gravy over everything. But I decided to make a simple curry.

3 cups of low sodium chicken broth
Half a sweet onion, diced
6 oz. of frozen vegetables (I like the mix of corn, carrots and peas)
1 t grated fresh ginger
2 T yellow curry powder
3 T corn starch
2 T vegetable oil
Salt for seasoning

In a saucepan, warm vegetable oil over medium high heat and then add the onion. Saute until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Then add curry powder and cook for about a minute.

Add the broth and bring to a boil and add your frozen vegetables and ginger. In a small bowl or cup, add a bit of water to your cornstarch to create a slurry and then slowly add to your curry to help thicken it. (You can do the trick with flour if you’re more familiar with using flour as a thickener. You just want your curry to be thick like gravy.) Season with salt if needed.

When you’re done, pour some of the curry vegetables over your loco moco and finish it off with some garnish like pickled ginger or I used shredded nori (dried seaweed).

Even though I never had a loco moco before, this curry version was soooo satisfying and really made me feel like home. Enjoy!

Other local favorites:
Macaroni salad
Kim chi fried rice
Kalua pig


Jenster said...

A loco moco with curry sounds really good! Thanks for sharing your curry recipe -- I'll have to give it a try. I'm always tempted to buy the Japanese curry bricks (like S&W Golden) at the store but then I look at the nutritional info and the ingredients, which usually lists something like beef fat first, and then I chicken out.

I substitute ground turkey breast for ground beef a lot and find it delicious.

Cookie said...

What a pretty dish! It reminds me of those fancy soups that are assembled tableside when the waiter pours hot liquid into the bowl.

Hungry Dog said...

This is one of my favorite posts of yours!! I've never had loco moco either but of course have seen it on many menus in Hawaii. Your version looks great. Incidentally, that's how I learned to cook rice too--the 1/4" thing. BUt now I use a rice cooker, why wouldn't I?!

Mark Scarbrough said...

Last time I was in Hawaii, I didn't have it with curry--but with the brown sauce, as you say. I think yours is better by far--although I might also like it with a tomatoey-chili sauce, too.

Carolyn Jung said...

This looks awesome. Total comfort food for when you just want to curl up on the couch in front of the TV with something warm, delicious and satisfying.

Single Guy Ben said...

Jenster, I use the S&B curry powder from the can. I'm not a fan of the curry blocks from S&W Golden. The flavor is too thick for me. And I checked my S&B can and there's no beef fat, just a mixture of spices! :)

Mark, you're giving me more ideas for mixing up this classic even more!

foodhoe said...

I have never had curry and eggs, what a crazy loco moco! It looks delicious and fun, did you say turkey burger?

hope chests said...

This sounds and looks really, really, really good! I like the concept with the egg on the top! Thanks for sharing!

Jenster said...

I had no idea there was an S&B curry powder! I must go look for it. Thanks for the tip, Ben.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

Dude, that's a pretty non-traditional loco moco but let me tell you, it's making my mouth water. And this is right after I've eaten dinner!

Perfect job.