Tag Archives: Hawaiian

Meat Jun

Meat Jun

Meat Jun

Meat jun is a “Korean” food I discovered while living in Hawaii. It’s basically thin slices of beef that are marinated, coated in flour and egg, and fried. It is usually served with a soy sauce based dip and/or a gochujang-based hot sauce, rice, and various vegetable sides (banchan). Any time I went to the Ala Moana food court or stopped by a Yummy’s I would almost always fore go trying anything else just so I could order meat jun. The gold standard for meat jun however is Soon’s. I used to live right across the street from the place for a while but it became out of the way when I moved closer to the University area.

After I left Hawaii I always scanned the menu at Korean restaurants looking for meat jun, but I could never find it. Only later was I told by a Korean restaurant employee in Seattle that it is not actually Korean and seems to be a dish that was developed in Hawaii. That explains why many Korean people I asked did not know what it is.

The bottom line was that if I wanted to enjoy meat jun again before my next trip to Hawaii I was going to have to learn how to make it myself. In my typical fashion I scoured the web for recipes and picked bits of pieces of various recipes and came up with one which I thought I would like. Having made this several times now the result is a recipe which I have written down and come back to over and over again.

Ingredients

2-3 lbs. beef, thinly sliced
1 cup shoyu
3 Tbsp sesame seed oil
3-4 stalks green onion – finely chopped
2-3 cloves minced garlic
6 eggs – beaten
Flour – about 1 1/2 to 2 cups
Oil for frying (I use vegetable oil)

Preparation

Cut meat into thin slices if using a large cut, or use thin sliced beef (about 1/8 inch thick)
Place in a bowl – add shoyu, sesame seed oil, green onions, and garlic, mix well. Let sit for about 15 minutes. I like to do this a few hours before and let it marinate in the refrigerator.

Marinating Meat Jun beef slices

Marinating Meat Jun beef slices

Cooking

First make a little assembly line with the meat on the left, the flour in a flat pan or large plate in the middle, and the egg in a bowl on the right, closest to the frying pan. Dip the marinated meat pieces in flour and coat well, then shake off the excess. Transfer the meat into the beaten eggs to coat, covering the floured meat completely but allowing the excess to drip off. Fry on medium heat (about 6 on my electric stove top, 5 when I’m using cast iron) until barely golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Dipping Sauce

My favored sauce:

1 cup shoyu
1/4 cup rice vinegar (Mirin)
1 stalk green onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Shoyu Meat Jun dip

Shoyu Meat Jun dip

My wife’s favored sauce:

Similar to the one above but add a tbsp of gochujang (Korean hot paste) and about a tsp of sesame oil, and no sesame seeds. We usually have both sauces at the table. I like spicy, but for some reason I just have to have my favored sauce with meat jun.

Gluten free variation:

  • Replace the shoyu (soy sauce) with a gluten-free soy sauce or tamari. We use San-J brand but any brand you like will work. I find it a bit of a waste to marinate with San-J so if you can use a cheaper wheat-free brand for the marinade and use the “better” brand for the dipping sauce.
  • Replace the flour with a gluten-free flour blend. We make one similar to the one found here.

I made the version for this recipe with gluten free ingredients only and it tasted the same as usual, so know that you won’t be missing out on anything at all.

Note:

Don’t buy meat which is sliced too thin. I always end up doing that then have to deal with the meat shredding apart. What’s too thin? Well for one if it’s cut for Sukiyaki (or hot pot) then it’s too thin. It should be about an 1/8 inch thick. The ones I get always end up being closer to a 1/16 inch thick – like a Sukiyaki cut – and they fall apart. Oh I still use them and they taste great, but it’s a bit inconvenient and harder to work with.

Paleo Cookbooks for Gluten-Free Living

Loco Moco

Loco Moco

Loco Moco

Loco moco is one of those unique dishes in Hawaii that are ubiquitous at home and often taken for granted. When I moved to the mainland it was one of the first dishes I had to learn to make on my own. I’m no slouch when it comes to cooking but local food in Hawaii was always available for cheap within 5 minutes from anywhere so I always grabbed it at a lunch wagon, at a drive-in, at a food court, or a hole in the wall, and I never really bothered to learn how to make it.

No longer having easy access to it however I knew that I would have to learn how to make it. The craving for the flavor explosion in the mouth that happens when the hamburger patty, gravy, and runny egg yolk come together drove me to experiment with recipe after recipe until I finally came up with one that works for me. While all recipes are seemingly always a work in progress no matter how good they are – and because I often make do with what I have on hand rather than run to the store for just one ingredient – here is Loco Moco as I make it today.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb ground beef
1/2 small onion
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 cups beef broth
1 or 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp water
4 eggs

Preparation

In a bowl mix the ground beef, onion, salt, and pepper and form the patties any way you want to. I form them with my hands, about 3 1/2 inches in diameter and about 3/4 inch thick.

Cooking

Preheat a pan on medium-high, about 6 on my electric stove, then add the oil to the pan and allow to heat for about 20-30 seconds, or until the oil begins to shimmer. Fry the patties for about 3 minutes per side for just well done.

Beef patties

Beef patties

When the patties are done remove them from the pan and deglaze the pan with a little beef broth, then pour the rest in. Add one or two dashes of Worcestershire sauce and let the sauce reduce for a few minutes, until almost reduced by half.

Loco moco gravy

Loco moco gravy

Mix the flour with a few tablespoons of water and slowly add about a tablespoon or two at a time and mix well allowing the sauce to thicken. When it is the consistency of gravy that you like simmer the sauce for a few more minutes to cook out the taste of the flour. If you want to get fancy add a tablespoon of butter at the very end and mix it in well to give the gravy a little sheen, like in the restaurants.

Usually right around when the patties are done I begin to cook the eggs in a separate pan, sunny side up allowing for one egg per dish. Cook them low and slow so they stay soft as you want the yolk to ooze all over when you break it.

Eggs sunny side up

Eggs sunny side up, low and slow

When the patties, gravy, and eggs are done it’s time to build the loco moco. Put one or two scoops of rice in a dish or bowl, place a pattie in the middle, ladle some gravy over the beef and a little over the rice, then place the egg on top. Dig in!

Building the Loco Moco

Building the Loco Moco

Hungry man’s alteration: Use a little more beef and a few extra eggs to make an extra beef patty and egg per dish.

Double Loco Moco

Double Loco Moco.

Cooking tips:

You will need two frying pans for this dish so have them both ready. Preheat the pan you use for the eggs (on about 4 1/2 – 5 on my electric stove) for a couple of minutes right before you take the patties out of their pan so you have time to cook the eggs low and slow.

Remove the ground beef from the refrigerator about 15-20 minutes before you begin to bring it closer to room temperature. Besides making it a little to form the patties the beef will cook faster and more evenly in the pan. Using cold meat will make for longer cooking times and a less juicy patty.

Make use of your oven to keep patties and eggs warm. This is something I always do when food finish cooking at different times. Set your oven to the warm setting, if it has one, or around 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the patties in the oven on a plate when they are done, and do the same with the sunny side up eggs as well. Don’t crowd the eggs in the pan or the whites will cook into each other. Cook fewer eggs at a time to keep them separate, but keep the cooked eggs warm until you are ready to plate.

Gluten-free variation:

In place of flour use a gluten-free flour mix – which I did the day I made this for breakfast – or other thickener such as corn starch, arrow root, etc. I prefer flour myself.

Use Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce which is gluten-free in the United States, or any other brand labelled as gluten-free. My understanding is that the Canadian and British versions are not gluten-free.