Enough is enough! A good friend is in Hawaii right now, sending back drool-worthy reports of poke (heavenly marinated raw tuna), malassadas (deep-fried portugese doughnuts) and numerous plate lunches. I lived in Hawaii for a few years as a kid and go back every year to “visit family” (code for: eat a lot of maui shrimp chips and fresh fish), so I’ve seen the delights–and consequences– of the local diet. A quintessential local style dish is the venerated Loco Moco. Imagine if you will, a pile of three scoops of fragrant, steaming white rice, covered with a juicy hamburger patty, then bathed in a cascade of beef gravy dotted with onions. Cover the peak of this mountain of delicious with one (or two) sunnyside up eggs and you’ve got yourself some serious chow. Glorious.
However, this particular glory has some serious consequences. Estimates on the web put the calorie count at between 1100-1500 calories, 34-52 grams of fat per plate. When I’m actually in Hawaii, I hit the Hapa Cafe in Kapolei, order up a Loco Moco and count my blessings (and maybe add 10 minutes to my morning run). But when I’m home and having a Loco Moco craving, I make a version that takes me back to Oahu, but doesn’t take years off my life. Hey, eating great is important, but if you can eat great and live to be 100, even better. The key to my version– Let’s call it Long Life Loco Moco — is using up leftovers from other healthy meals, keeping a little bit of fat to help transmit flavors, and using a variety of spices and flavors.
This morning I whipped up my most successful Long Life Loco Moco to date. Instead of a truckload of white rice, had a delicious scoop of garlic fried brown rice, made with less than a teaspoon of olive oil. I topped that with a leftover teriyaki turkey burger patty my husband grilled the other night, then bathed it all in the gravy. The gravy is the real key here. Instead of a traditional beef gravy made with beef fat and worcestershire, I threw some fat-free chicken broth, a teaspoon of some leftover caramelized onions, a diced up mushroom, soy sauce, pepper and a squirt of Katsu sauce into a little pot and let it simmer while I cooked the rest of the breakfast. Thickened at the last minute with a little bit of Mochiko rice flour and I had a sauce that would make your old Nikes taste like Beef Bourgogne.Top this with your best crispy-edged sunnyside-up egg, a little more of the onions and you’re golden.
If the thought of healthy modifications make you cringe — like the words fat free cheese, yech — take a look at this photo of today’s Long Life Loco Moco. Glistening gravy and eggs, peppery, garlicky rice. Oh, you poor thing.