Loco Moco is a simple Hawaiian recipe that consists of steamed rice topped with a tender hamburger patty, fried egg, and smothered with flavorful mushroom gravy.
A Loco Moco is great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is savory, hearty, and packed with calories. More importantly, although Loco Moco sounds like a fancy dish name, it is actually very simple to make. Let me tell you how easy it is.
About Loco Moco
With the name of Loco Moco, you would hardly expect that the dish comes from the only island state in the United States. Yes, Loco Moco is a modern dish that has been invented in Hawaii.
Loco Moco is actually a mix of Asian and American comfort foods. It was developed late in the 1940s as inexpensive diner food that teenagers could afford. The teenagers named the dish Loco Moco after one of their members, whose nickname was “crazy”. They suggested using Loco, which is Spanish for crazy. Then, they tacked on “moco which rhymed with loco and sounded good.
This recipe keeps it as simple as it was back in those times, but feel free to experiment a bit yourself. There are many variations, but the traditional one consists of a bed of white rice, topped with a juicy hamburger and a fried egg, and smothered with brown mushroom gravy. Variations may include bacon, ham, tofu, and other meats.
Since there is not much to do with a fried egg and the rice, you should focus the efforts on the hamburger patty and the mushroom gravy. I love to make it as simple as possible. Let me explain how I made them further below.
1. Hamburger patties
I am a minimalist when it comes to making hamburger patties. Ground beef, diced onion, and salt, and pepper are usually as much as I add to the meat before cooking. Because the hamburger patties are the main component in this recipe, get the best meat available that you can afford. That means ground chuck with at least 20% fat.
The more freshly ground the meat is, the more tender and flavorful the burger. If your store has on-site butchers, ask them to grind the meat fresh for you. Of course, you can grind on your own with a home grinder or in a food processor.
I am into big, fat patties because they look visually better. I use 400 grams of ground beef for 2 big patties. But if you think they are too big for a serving, you can divide them into smaller pieces. For the big patties, make the center thinner than the edges since the hamburgers shrink and pull in as they cook.
2. Mushroom gravy
The gravy is what combines the flavor of the rice, hamburger, and egg together. Firstly, I cook the hamburgers first so that I got the wonderful pan drippings from the meat to build up the flavor in the gravy. Then, add the diced onions and mushrooms. Cook until tender and the onion is caramelized. I use beef stock, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce for the seasonings. Then, I add the cornstarch slurry to blend everything and thicken the gravy.
3. Sunny-side up eggs
Although the egg was not included in the original version of Loco Moco, it is definitely a staple to the Hawaiian dish now. For the perfect round eggs, I used a 4-inch/10cm round cookie cutter.
Grease the cookie cutter before dropping it on a greased frying pan. Then, crack an egg into the cutter, keeping the yolk intact. Cover with a tight lid and cook until the white is completely set. Slide the egg out of the skillet onto a plate and season with salt and pepper.
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