We eat rice with almost every meal. Of course we do, we’re basically an Asian family in Hawaii and rice is an island staple. That’s why we always have cooked rice in the rice cooker! But even rice in the rice cooker gets old and dry after one day, so what do you do with left over day old rice? Why make Garlic Fried Rice of course!
Garlic Fried Rice is a popular breakfast starch in the Philippines and Hawaii. Yes, we have rice for breakfast. When we say “rice” we mean that somewhat sticky medium grain rice that’s steamed in a rice cooker; not long grain parboiled rice like “Uncle Ben’s” or any other type of long grain rice.
I grew up eating Garlic Fried Rice only we called in “Sinangag” which is the Tagalog word for fried day old rice. I know my mother and grandmother made it to avoid wasting day old rice; there is no greater waste in the eyes of Filipinos that wasting rice. But in my house Garlic Fried Rice isn’t limited to breakfast nor do we only use left over rice to make it. I sometimes make extra rice so that I can have some to turn into Garlic Fried Rice the next day for dinner.
The reason you must use day old rice is because fresh steamed rice is too sticky and if it’s really fresh somewhat damp. Garlic Fried Rice calls for dry cooked rice, hence it should be a day old. I’ve tried making it with fresh steamed rice, that did not go well.
The basic ingredients for Garlic Fried Rice is day old rice, minced fresh garlic or garlic powder, salt and pepper. But in our family we use soy sauce instead of salt.
You can add anything to the basic recipe depending on what you have in the fridge that you also want to get rid of. I usually add chopped green onions, eggs, peas, diced carrots, and minced cooked meats or shrimp.
To make Garlic Fried Rice you simply stir fry everything in a pan or wok with a bit of oil. If you’re adding minced or chopped ingredients you toss them in last and stir it into the rice just long enough for them to heat up. When I add an egg or two I usually toss it in last and scramble it in the pan while stirring it with the rice.
You can serve Garlic Fried Rice with fried eggs and breakfast meats for breakfast or as a side dish with lunch or dinner. If you have enough “stuff” to stir in Garlic Fried Rice makes a filling meal on its own. Really it’s a very versatile dish and very quick and easy to make!