Okinawan Taco Rice Bowls

By • November 21, 2017 1 Comments

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Author Notes: Popular in Japan, this dish is a mash-up of Tex-Mex and Japanese comfort food. The combination of Japanese flavors (soy, ginger, miso) and Tex-Mex (cumin, chili, paprika) might sound misplaced, but it all comes together in a hearty and filling bowl that's vibrant and bold in spice. It's got enough contrasting textures and temperatures (crunchy lettuce, chewy sushi rice, hot ground beef, and melty cheese) to be my dream dinner.Posie Harwood

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Serves 4

For the taco bowls

  • 2 cups short-grain sushi rice or arborio rice
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar or a mild white cheese like Gruyère, asiago, or mozzarella)
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sweet miso paste, dissolved in 1/2 cup water

For the salsa

  • 3/4 cup diced fresh tomatoes
  • 50 milliliters rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 small red chili, minced (optional, only if you like heat!)
  1. Put the rice with 2 cups cold water and a pinch of salt in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook until tender and the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  2. To make the beef, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add beef and stir to break up any lumps, cooking for about 4 minutes until well-browned.
  3. Add the chili flakes, cumin, coriander, and paprika, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the soy sauce and miso/water blend. Cook for about 4 minutes, until the beef is cooked through and the liquid is mostly cooked off. Remove from the heat.
  5. To make the salsa: Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.
  6. Divide the rice between four bowls. Top with the seasoned beef, lettuce, shredded cheese, and salsa. If you want a more filling meal, add sliced avocado and/or an egg.

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