Last summer, in a languid gathering of friends and musicians at Great Divide Brewery in Denver, my compatriot Tyler Gilmore and I shuffled our beer filled bellies to a nearby food cart. What we encountered there was not what we expected. That food cart served us not food, but ambrosia: quinoa patties, rice, avocado, fried egg, and mushroom gravy. When we took our first bite, time suspended.
That was my first taste of Loko Moko.
Loko Moko (also spelled Locomoco, trans. Sp. “Crazy Snot”) is an iconic Hawaiian dish (don’t worry, no pineapple) in which a fried egg is served on a hamburger on a bed of rice and then covered in gravy. The version we had in Denver was a vegetarian variation prepared by Watercourse Food. Ever since then, I’ve been interpreting and recreating the dish. It’s an incredibly cheap way to feed a large crowd while also holding your guests in culinary disbelief. This winter, when Tyler visited my apartment in Brooklyn, we commemorated that nostalgic evening at Great Divide by preparing the same meal for our New York friends – including FP’s co-editor, Keith Meatto.
Prep Time: 4 Hours Soaking Quinoa, 1 Hour Prep
Servings: 4+ Adults
2 cups rice
4 cups vegetable broth
4 tbs olive oil
4 tbs flour
2 cups vegetable broth, preferably homemade
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp sage
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup quinoa
1 cup flour
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs Olive Oil
2 tbs Canola Oil or Vegetable Shortening
4 Eggs For Topping
2 Avocados – Halved and Sliced
Mix rice in a medium-large sauce pan with vegetable broth. Place over medium-high heat. When water begins to boil, stir once, reduce heat to low, cover and let sit for 20 minutes or until rice is fluffy.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together olive oil (or other fat) and flour. Put over medium heat until mixture begins to turn golden. Slowly add vegetable broth, constantly stirring. Add salt, pepper, rosemary and sage (you can substitute the rosemary and sage with any robust herbs you have around the kitchen). Once the mixture thickens, add chopped mushrooms and keep on heat for about 3-5 more minutes, or until the mushrooms have begun to reduce. Set gravy aside.
Mix Quinoa, Flour, Paprika, Thyme, Garlic, Shallot, Salt, Pepper, Lemon Juice and Olive Oil. Whisk eggs and place them in the mixture. Mixture should be thick. Thicken if needed by adding flour. Heat a generous amount of canola oil in pan over medium heat. With well floured hands, form quinoa mixture into patties and carefully place into pan. When patty starts to brown (oil should begin to bubble through the top of the patty), flip over and brown other side. With both sides browned, remove and place on plate covered in paper towel. Continue until you run out of mixture.
Fry 4 eggs in leftover oil from the quinoa patties. If the pan is low on oil, add a little so that the pan is not dry.
Fill 4 bowls with 1/2 cup of cooked rice. Place Quinoa Patty on rice. Place one fried egg on quinoa patty. Cover in 1/2 cup or more of mushroom gravy. Place 3-4 avocado slices on gravy. Top with sriracha sauce to desired spiciness. Enjoy!
Alaina Ferris is a singer, writer, music teacher, and food enthusiast. Her pieces for FP include Brooklyn Mac and Cheese, Top 5 Prospect Heights Cafes, and an interview with saxophonist Andrew Rathbun. In 2011, she will release two albums: one with Shadow Pilot, a trip-hop/downtempo collaboration with her brother, Joseph Drew Ferris; another with Small Dream Ada, her chamber/rock band with composer Tyler Gilmore.