Loco Moco with Mango-Cucumber Relish: Man Made Meals Reviewed

Loco Moco, a Hawaiian specialty with rice, hamburger, gravy, and a fried egg--served with a Mango Cucumber Relish

OK raise your hand if you have heard of Loco Moco–and it does not count if you are from Hawaii. Or have visited recently.

Yeah not me either.

But–Steven Raichlen‘s excellent sell job in Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys aside–I needed no convincing of its tastiness the minute I read about it. Some people might find a hamburger on rice weird, but I promise you those people are not in my family! So anyway what is it? It is a seasoned hamburger served on white rice, with a brown (Pacific Rim inspired in this case) gravy and a fried egg on top. In other words, yum.

Loco Moco, a Hawaiian specialty with rice, hamburger, gravy, and a fried egg--served with a Mango Cucumber Relish

So if that is Loco Moco, you might be wondering about the Mango Cucumber relish (a Hawaiian friend of mine said she had never been served such a fancy Loco Moco as to have relish!). Well I had mangoes about to go bad. And honestly, I loved the relish on the Loco Moco. So did John. The kids surprisingly did not even want to try it–I thought they would be jumping at the mangoes, but they liked the dish “plain,” with just the gravy.

As mentioned, I found the recipe in Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys, which I had been sent for review. I love Steven Raichlen’s recipes in general, and, ironically, I like him best when he is not waxing poetic about grilling things. So this book did not disappoint! But wait, you say, Laura you’re a girl! Look, don’t ask me about the idea that this book is somehow geared toward men. To me it is just geared toward good taste, although I did notice that the recipe called for making 2 pounds of ground beef in addition to the fried eggs, which is a pretty big recipe for four people to my mind (and indeed we each had less hamburger than he called for). So I guess it is geared toward the idea that men like to make and/or eat more of something? Whatever, just ignore the pitch (unless of course you are a guy and like the idea of it) and check out this book!

Loco Moco, a Hawaiian specialty with rice, hamburger, gravy, and a fried egg--served with a Mango Cucumber Relish

Loco Moco
Recipe courtesy of Workman Publishing; From Steven Raichlen: Hamburger, fried egg, white rice, and instant gravy may not sound like a formula for gustatory wonderment. But for many Hawaiians, loco moco (for that’s what they call this rib-sticking combination) is the ultimate comfort food, equally welcome at breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a midnight snack. In the last few years, I’ve watched loco moco move from the confines of the Aloha State to hip restaurants in Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle, and along the way, it’s gotten a makeover. My rendition features Pac-Rim seasonings, like ginger, sesame oil, and hoisin sauce, and homemade gravy in place of the traditional store-bought glop. Surf’s up, guys. Loco moco will make sure you don’t meet it on an empty stomach. Serves 4
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Hawaiian
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed, both white and green parts thinly sliced crosswise; set aside 2 tablespoons of the green parts for serving
  • 1 piece (3 inches) ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
  • 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Asian (dark) sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups warm cooked rice (page 488)
  • ½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup mirin (sweet rice wine) or sake
  • 1½ cups beef or chicken stock,
  • preferably homemade (page 549)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar or granulated
  • sugar, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in
  • 1 tablespoon water (stir it to form
  • a paste)
  • 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) butter
  • 4 large eggs
  1. Place half of the scallions, ginger, and garlic in a mixing bowl. Add the beef, 2 tablespoons each of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and sesame oil, and the black pepper, and stir to mix. Lightly wet your hands with cold water and divide the meat into 12 equal-size portions. Form each portion into a 11/2-inch patty. Arrange the patties on a plate lined with plastic wrap and cover them with more plastic wrap. Refrigerate the patties until you are ready to cook them.
  2. Divide the rice among 4 bowls.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches if necessary, add the patties, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Cook the burgers until browned on the outside and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side for medium. Arrange 3 burgers on top of each bowl of rice and keep warm (loosely cover with aluminum foil).
  4. Pour off and discard all but about 1 tablespoon of the burger fat from the skillet. Add the remaining scallions, ginger, and garlic and the hot pepper flakes to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat until aromatic and browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mirin and boil for 1 minute. Stir in the remaining tablespoons of soy sauce and hoisin sauce and the beef stock and sugar and boil for 2 minutes to merge the flavors. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the gravy and boil until slightly thickened, about 30 seconds, whisking steadily. Taste for seasoning, adding more soy sauce and/or sugar as necessary. Pour the gravy over the burgers and rice.
  5. Rinse out the skillet and wipe it clean. Melt the butter in the skillet over high heat. Crack the eggs into the skillet and fry them to taste: 2 minutes for sunny-side up, 3 minutes for over-easy. Slide 1 egg into each bowl over the burgers. Sprinkle the reserved scallion greens on top and dig in.

Mango Cucumber Relish for Loco Moco
Mango-Cucumber Relish
Recipe type: salsa/relish
  • 4 ripe mangoes, peeled and cored and diced
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, seeded and diced (I left the skin for that bright green pop of color)
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • juice of 2-4 limes, to taste
  1. Toss the mango, cucumber and garlic clove (you will not eat the garlic clove, just let it flavor the relish this way so it does not bother anyone's stomach) together. Salt and pepper the relish at this point to taste.
  2. Mix in the cilantro.
  3. Add the juice of 2 limes. Taste--mango is quite sweet so it may very well need more. Taste for more salt and pepper as well.
  4. Place in the fridge until ready to use. If you have extra, I thought this was good on tortilla chips too!


Affiliate links were used in this post, but only to link to items I would be discussing and linking to in any case. I was given a copy of Man Made Meals for free for the purposes of reviewing it. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any other way for this post. 


  1. says

    I might have to get this book for my brother who is just starting to cook. And yes, I’d be playing into the book’s whole marketing ploy but I suspect I wouldn’t find many meat-free recipes in there for myself to make and eat!

  2. says

    I just bought this book! So far I’ve made Mango Peanut Slaw, Gaucho Bean Salad, and Chimichurri – all extremely tasty and would highly recommend. I love your book review too – I’m a girl and I definitely gravitated toward the recipes in there, so I’m unsure of the whole man theme too, but like you said – whatever! It’s delicious so far! :)

    This loco moco looks divine, I have to try it sometime!

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