Taco Rice

A little taste of American-style Mexican food, by way of Okinawa.


I was introduced to this dish by my lovely wife. When I first came to Japan, Mexican food was very hard to come by, and even harder to cook. The ingredients were nearly non-existent, aside for the odd El Paso Taco Kit.

However, I’m a much bigger fan of soft flour tortillas than of the hard corn ones found in those kits. That, and the fact that I don’t have experience with authentic Mexican cuisine, limits what I can make.

Anyhow, one night before we got married, I came home to find a dish like this waiting. My dear had cooked this for me after seeing the recipe on a TV cooking show.

(by the way, I don’t have a picture of my recipe, but it’s nearly identical to the picture here)

Needless to say I loved it.

One thing puzzled me. She said it was from Okinawa, the chain of islands south of the main Japanese archipelago. So, I did a little research to find that the dish was invented by a chef in Okinawa to appeal to American Marines stationed there.

It has since become a staple of our diet, although we had to change it a bit to suit our kids, who also love it. It’s quick and easy, and we usually have all the ingredients on-hand. I make it on average once or twice a month.

If you want to try it, here’s a simple recipe:

You’ll need:

rice–cooked, of course.

taco meat–you can make it with a packaged mix, or with whatever you put in tacos (especially you vegetarians out there.) These days, we make it milder for our kids. I use a couple of cloves of garlic and an onion (chopped), one grated carrot and a big handful of chopped spinach. Then I fry it together with some lean ground beef or pork (usually both). Next, add ketchup, a little water, and seasoning (salt, pepper, chili powder and a pinch of cumin) and simmer.


tomato–also chopped

grated cheese–cheddar is my favourite

salsa–whatever kind you like best

The rice goes on the bottom as the base, then the vegetables, meat, cheese and salsa. You can mix up the order with little difference.


Anyhow, give it a try.

If you have any comments or variations, leave them in the comments! I’m always looking out for new things to try!

This entry was posted in cooking.

4 comments on “Taco Rice

  1. Crowpath says:

    This looks a little different, but it’s really good! It’s not always easy to use up the soft corn tortillas when you buy a big pack, so if you feel like a Mexican night, the rice works. We heated up some re-fried beans on the side, and that was great. Beans and rice go well together. I don’t know how easily you are going to find a can of re-fried beans in Japan, but it’s worth it if you can. Red or green pepper in the vegetables seems nice too.
    We’ll have to come by and let you make this for us! 🙂

    • betamaxman says:

      Anytime you guys make it over, you’re welcome. Last time didn’t work out, so you still owe us a visit!

      We sometimes get tortillas and refried beans, but the only shop that I know that sells them is kind of far, so rice works well, especially when time is short.

  2. Ooooh, I love cooking Mexican food!

    My favourite way to use tortillas is by layering chilli with the wraps lasagne-stylee, topping with cheese and baking. Then serve with a crisp lettuce salad, some salsa and a good dollop of sour creme or natural yoghurt – bliss!

    In fact, it’s what we’re having for tea tomorrow night 🙂

    I agree the packs are usually not that great. We had one recently with some very bad taco shells in and some overly salty seasoning :/ mince with tinned chopped tomatoes and chilli powder is just as easy and much nicer.

    • betamaxman says:

      I’ve done the tortilla lasagne too, and if turned out well. I also put in re-fried beans with good effect.
      I recommend Cheddar cheese too.

      I actually have no idea if what I make is authentic Mexican food, but it’s what we called it. Just once, I want to go to Mexico and find out what real Mexican people eat. 🙂

      And thanks for the Facebook compliment. I blushed. 🙂

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