Tex Mex Rice Bowl

This tex mex rice bowl is comfort food for me. It’s got all my favourite bits from a burrito and the spicy minced beef sitting on the rice, reminds me of a dish that mum used to make for my brother, sister and I when we were kids.

So I know this seems like a bizarre dish at first, but it’s actually quite common in Japan. What the? Turns out it’s something that was created in Okinawa to satisfy the US military’s appetite for foods they missed from their home. In Japan, it is known as taco rice.


Tomatoes can get pretty pricey in Singapore, which is a shame because we eat a lot of them. Normally you can get sweet little cherry tomatoes for an ok price, but if you want good, bigger tomatoes you have to cough up some cash. These vine ripened beauties came in a pack of 6 and they were reduced to $5.00SGD so I picked them up without bothering to look at their usual price. When they scanned at the register the usual price popped up before reducing. They were reduced from $10.00!



Make the salsa first and then let it sit while you prepare everything else. Try not to refrigerate your tomatoes or the salsa, as the coldness reduces the flavour of them dramatically.



The ‘taco’ spice mix is based on this one and to me, it tastes so close to those packet taco spice mixes you can get. If you want to make this even easier, you can skip the spices and just use a few tablespoons of a packet seasoning instead. Just don’t add any salt as the packets already have heaps.



This is such a quick and easy dinner to make, you could serve it without the rice, or just wrap it up in a tortilla for a classic burrito.



Tex Mex Rice Bowl

Ingredients – Serves 2-3

For the Salsa

  • 1 large tomato, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ small red onion, chopped finely
  • pinch of sea salt
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste


For the Meat and Rice

  • 1 cup of long grain rice
  • 250g beef mince
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ¼ tsp hot cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried onion flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup of passata
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes


To serve

  • Shredded lettuce leaves
  • Sour Cream
  • Grated Cheese
  • Chopped spring onions to garnish



  1. Combine all of the salsa ingredients in a bowl and let sit while you prepare everything else.
  2. Put the rice on to cook in a medium sized saucepan with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil on high heat, then cover and reduce the heat to low, cook for 10 minutes then remove from heat but leave the lid on for another 10 minutes.
  4. Once the rice has started cooking, heat a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Brown the mince while breaking it up with a spoon. Keep browning it until it gets some darker coloured caramelised bits on it.
  5. Add the spices, herbs, dried onion and garlic and stir until the spices are fragrant or about a minute.
  6. Add the passata, salt and ½ cup of water then bring to a boil. Once boiled, drop to a love heat and simmer for around 5 minutes.
  7. Once rice is cooked, fluff up with a fork then place in bowls. Top with the hot mince, salsa, lettuce, cheese, sour cream and garnish with spring onions.





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Hi! I’m Taryn. The Wooden Spoons is a food blog and collection of wooden spoons, recipes and stories. I’m a Canberra fan-girl with a passion for all things food. I love South East Asian food, fusion food done well and slow cooked anything. I don’t get quinoa, have a mild phobia of milk touching my skin and custard from a package freaks me out. Thanks for joining me on my cooking and food adventures.

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