A healthy low carb way to make Okinawa Taco Rice. The popular Japanese-Mexican dish just got a makeover by using cauliflower rice instead of Japanese white rice to make it low carb and keto friendly, but with all of the original flavours!
What is Taco Rice?
Taco rice, タコライス, is a twist between Japanese and Mexican cuisine which consists of a bowl of rice topped with taco meat, lettuce, tomato, cheese and salsa.
Taco rice was created in 1984 by restaurant owner Matsuzo Gibo who sold it in his Parlor Senri cafe right in front of the main gates of Camp Hensen in Kin, Okinawa. Parlor Senri used to be a bar back in the day and Gibo noticed that the U.S. military personnel stationed in Okinawa could benefit from a filling dish that was delicious and cheap to buy.
He knew that the U.S. military personnel enjoyed Mexican food and wanted to create a dish that would combine Japanese cuisine with Mexican food. Okinawan taco rice became extremely popular and loved by all of the Americans and Okinawan population that Gibo was able to open his second restaurant King Tacos, which later spread all over the Okinawan peninsula.
The original taco rice recipe consisted simply of rice and ground meat. Over the years, different toppings were added to the dish like lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. Japanese taco rice is definitely similar to a burrito as it’s like having rice in tacos, but this layered dish makes it even more delicious.
Taco Rice Restaurants
There are thousands of restaurants in Japan that serve taco rice as it’s become a delicious staple food that’s inexpensive to make or eat. The original taco rice restaurant Parlor Senri closed a few years ago, but King Tacos still exists even today and is still as highly popular.
You’ll also find taco rice on the menu of popular chain restaurants like KFC, Yoshinoya, or even Taco Bell all over Japan.
If you ever visit Okinawa, you’ll definitely want to check out King Tacos as they’re the original and most authentic place where you can eat Japanese taco rice.
- Address: 4244-4 Kin Kin town Kunigami Okinawa
- Phone Number: 090-1947-1684
- Hours of Operation: 10:30 ~ 1:00
Taco Rice Ingredients
Japanese taco rice is usually served with some white Japanese rice topped with some lettuce, taco meat, tomatoes and cheese. That is the traditional way to make it, but various restaurants and home cooks in Japan often make it differently.
The taco meat is usually made with a simple taco seasoning recipe, but is also often replaced with soy sauce, sake and mirin. For this recipe, I chose to use my own simple taco seasoning because I wanted to keep it soy free, sugar free and simple healthier.
- Taco Meat
- Tortilla Chips
- Sour Cream
- Fried Egg
- Taco Sauce
Low Carb Taco Rice
To make low carb taco rice, you’ll absolutely need to use a low carb alternative to rice like cauliflower rice, shirataki rice or broccoli rice. If you choose to add ketchup to your Okinawa taco rice, just make sure to choose homemade ketchup or sugar free ketchup. Other than that and the rice, every other ingredients are perfectly keto and low carb friendly.
You can either make your own cauliflower rice or buy frozen cauliflower rice. I usually prefer to buy frozen cauliflower rice as it’s just so much simpler to make and less messy!
How to Make Taco Rice
Making homemade taco rice is incredibly easy and doesn’t take too much time to cook. You’ll only need a few ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.
You can make this easy taco rice recipe in less than 30 minutes by following the next easy steps!
You’ll first want to make your taco meat by cooking your onions, red peppers and meat together. Once your meat is all browned, you can add your homemade taco seasoning to the meat along with the water. Let that cook through until all of the liquid has evaporated.
Once your meat is cooked through, you can start making your cauliflower rice. The spices you use in the cauliflower rice are totally up to you, but I went for something simple as to not overpower the taco meat.
Cook the cauliflower until cooked through and set aside. You’ll then want to make a sunny side up egg. I usually add a bit of oil to the frying pan, crack the egg in and cook covered for 2 minutes on medium heat.
The egg white should be completely cooked through and the egg yolk should still be runny.
Assemble the Taco Rice Bowl
Now that all of the taco rice parts are cooked through, you’ll want to assemble your taco rice into a bowl or large plate.
First add the cauliflower rice, cover with chopped lettuce, meat, cheese, chopped tomatoes and sunny side up egg in that order.
You can then top it with salsa, sour cream, mayonnaise or ketchup, but I like mine just like that!
What kind of lettuce is best?
Any kind of lettuce will work, but I chose iceberg lettuce for its crunchiness. You could also try sliced cabbage if you like even more crunch!
What kind of meat is best?
Any type of ground meat will work! You can use ground chicken, ground pork or ground beef. You could even use a mixture of two meats. The Japanese taco rice recipe tends to use a mix of ground pork and ground beef a lot.
What kind of cheese is best?
Any! As long as it melts, it’s perfect. Choose mozzarella, cheddar, gouda, parmesan, havarti, Monterey Jack, and so on.
Is Taco Rice Freezer Friendly?
This taco rice recipe is definitely freezer friendly as long as you don’t add any fresh vegetables to it. Freeze the rice and meat altogether in a freezer safe Tupperware for up to 2 months. You can freeze it longer if you use a FoodSaver.
To thaw, simply microwave it until warm!
Easy Okinawan Taco Rice Recipe
- 1 large tomato
- 5 leaves iceberg
- ½ cup (30 g) cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 cups (200 g) cauliflower rice (I used frozen)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ¼ onion
- ½ red pepper
- ½ lb (225 g) ground beef (or ground pork, chicken)
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- 1.25 tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp paprika powder
- ¾ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp chili powder
- 1.5 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup (120 ml) water
- Dice the onion and red pepper.
- In a frying pan, add the olive oil and cook the onion and red pepper on medium heat until soft. Add the ground meat and cook for 2 minutes, just until browned.Add all of the spices and water and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until all of the water has evaporated. Set the meat aside. Don't wash the pan, you'll use it in the next step.
Sunny Side Up Egg
- Crack the egg open in the previous frying pan. Cook on medium heat, covered, for a good 2 minutes. The egg white should be cooked through and the egg yolk should still be runny. Set aside once cooked.
- Add the oil, cauliflower rice and spices to a frying pan. Cook 4-5 minutes until all of the cauliflower has been cooked through and is soft enough to eat.
Assemble the Taco Rice
- Chop the lettuce and tomato.
- Add the cauliflower rice on a large plate, cover with the chopped lettuce, ground meat, cheese, tomato and then fried egg.This makes two servings!
- Instead of cauliflower rice, you can use broccoli rice or shirataki rice.
- Instead of ground beef, you can use ground pork, ground chicken or ground turkey.
Nutritional information is provided through calculations made on fatsecret.com. They are approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on mypcoskitchen.com. Sugar alcohols are included in the fiber count. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber (which include sugar alcohols).
All text, pictures & videos are copyright protected © by Mira Richard-Fioramore for Asian Keto Kitchen.
Shares are very much appreciated, just make sure to share a link and not a screenshot.
Copy/pasting full recipe text to websites and social media is prohibited. Excerpts, single photos, and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to www.asianketokitchen.com with appropriate link back to the original content.
This is quite helpful. Being in self isolation quite a distance from home, I inevitably needed a culinary companion. This site has been the guide I so much needed. Cooking rice is the combination of art and science. I sometimes see chefs sprinkling salt and olive oil when preparing rice, what’s your take on this?
And would you get the same results if you used short or medium grain variety?
I mean you can if you want to? But in Japan we don’t. Simple is the best is what they always say.