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Taco rice is a dish that actually originated in Okinawa, Japan in the 1960s, when there were a number of American military personnel living on a base in that area wanting to eat foods that reminded them of home. It is a type of Tex-Mex cuisine, typically made by combining the type of ground meat that would be found in tacos with the white rice that is a popular staple in many different Japanese dishes. Taco rice remains a relatively common food in Japan until this day, though it is also popular elsewhere, particularly in the United States.
There are a number of different recipes for taco rice to be found online. It is a fairly simple dish to make that can be customized to different taste preferences. Most people use ground beef for the ground meat component, but ground turkey or ground chicken can also be used as well for a slightly lower fat option. Cooking the meat with Mexican spices such as red pepper or cumin is one of the easiest ways to prepare it; most people also use garlic and onion, or even cook salsa right in with the meat. Simply adding a packet of taco seasoning is an option as well, though these tend to be pretty high in salt.
In addition to the meat, some people add extra vegetables to the taco rice dish. In Japan it is frequently served with lettuce and tomato, sometimes with cucumber added as well. In this way it becomes a type of taco salad. It is with the addition of plain white rice, yellow rice, or even brown rice to make it healthier and add extra fiber, that it becomes the more traditional taco rice meal. This also helps to make it more filling than simply the meat and vegetables. For anyone who wants to make the dish completely vegetarian, substituting beans for the ground meat is one option.
Taco rice is often topped with shredded cheese or sour cream, and served hot, making it even more reminiscent of traditional tacos. This dish is a good choice for people of all ages, and kids especially enjoy taco rice because it is easy to prepare and eat. It is a popular meal for lunch or dinner, but also makes a very common late night snack. It simply represents one of the many ways that cuisines from various cultures combine to create new and often delicious options.
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