Leftovers Loco Moco

Yesterday I came home over my late lunch break and was looking to put something together fast. I had some leftover rice from a couple of days ago and a piece of DC Meats steak from the night before that I was planning to warm up when Caitlin mentioned that she and the kids had made eggs for lunch. Suddenly, inspiration struck and I was transported back to the summer of 2008 when I was completing a ministry internship at Kalaheo Missionary Church on the island of Kauai.

My very favorite thing about Kauai is its people, and when wheels left the ground on my way home, I immediately felt a sort of emptiness in knowing that it would probably be a long while before I got to see the youth group kids, church members, and the other people of Kauai again.

My second favorite thing about Kauai is its food - not just how it tastes but also the way that it represents a blending of many cultures that have been brought to the island with its residents over the years. Loco Moco however is a truly Hawaiian dish, having been invented there around 1949 (thanks wikipedia!) It is traditionally prepared with white rice, a hamburger patty, brown gravy, and topped off with a fried egg - so when I heard beef, rice, and egg, I knew what I had to try.

Leftovers Loco Moco!

Since I didn't have freshly-cooked rice, I decided to try making fried rice to form the bed of this dish. I'm no expert but I've made it a time or two and it was passable, so I dove in and gave it a shot.

My first step was to heat up our cast-iron skillet (carefully chosen because it was the pan already on the stove) and put my leftovers in to warm up a bit. I put the steak in the middle and spread the rice in a thick layer on one side of it. Next, I drizzled a little bit of soy sauce over the rice (unfortunately we only had Kikkoman Soy Sauce on hand and not the wonderful, amazing Aloha Shoyu which is abundant on Kauai). After this heated up for a minute or so, I cracked a couple of eggs on the other side of the steak, and broke one over the rice for good measure. I sprinkled some salt and black pepper on the eggs.

As the ingredients started to heat further, I flipped the steak over periodically to help it heat evenly. I also flipped the eggs and mixed the third egg into the rice a bit better, sort of chopping it into the rice with a metal spatula. I then flipped the whole rice/egg bit over and sprinkled some frozen peas on top:

I covered the rice/egg/peas portion with a glass lid to help steam the peas, but my photo of that part didn't come out at all. I was rushing about trying to put together a quick lunch, hence the cell phone photos.

Once it seemed like the peas had warmed up, everything else was cooked (the steak just warmed through, the eggs overdone - whoops!) so I stacked it up on a plate. Rice on the bottom, then the steak, then the eggs on top.

Amazingly, it came out looking something like Loco Moco, and it looked appetizing enough that Caitlin commented, "I wish I had someone to make me a lunch like that!" I knew what that meant and it looked like too much for one person anyway, so I chopped the whole thing in half and split the Leftovers Loco Moco onto a second plate. We both enjoyed it, so: success!

If I were making this again, there are a few things I would do differently. I would:

  • put just a little bit of oil or butter in the pan to keep things from sticking
  • wait a little longer to put the eggs in so they don't overcook (I'd still do the rice-egg at the beginning though)
  • add the peas earlier so they could warm up more
  • give myself more time to enjoy the food!

What's the latest dish you've concocted from leftovers? Let me know in the comments below!