I’m a Filipina who grew up in NYC and now lives in Hawaii. Growing up rice was always part of the breakfast menu, actually it was part of every meal. This my have been considered weird back in the 60’s in NYC, but when my family moved to Hawaii in the late 70’s we fit right in.
Growing up we always had an electric rice cooker filled with rice in the kitchen. Left over or day old rice was fried with garlic for breakfast the next morning, we called it “Sinangag”. These days Filipino restaurants call it “Garlic Fried Rice”. Whatever you call it Filipino fried rice is delicious with fried eggs and breakfast meats, preferably Filipino cured meats like Tocino or Tapa.
My grandmothers would make fried rice every morning adding their own twist. Traditionally I think it was made by stir frying left over rice with garlic. My family added soy sauce and green onions to this mix, so that’s pretty much how we make it today.
In Hawaii which is a melting pot of different cultures the Filipino garlic fried rice has melded with other Asian versions of fried rice. On the islands an order of Fried Rice is a meal by itself covering most of the basic food groups; dairy, grains, meats, and veggies, depending on what you put in it.
I look at making fried rice like I do making Lumpia or Eggrolls; you toss in whatever you find in the fridge and call it a day. I simply build ingredients around day old rice (using fresh rice isn’t recommended as it can get too mushy). Fried Rice can be as simple as stir frying garlic and rice or as elaborate as tossing in seafood, meat, and vegetables, like what you’d find on a Chinese Restaurant menu.
If I’m serving it as a side dish then the simpler version usually works best, but if I intend for it to be a complete meal then of course I add more “stuff” in it. So today I’ll share my “recipe” for easy fried rice. Measurements really aren’t that important because it pretty much depends on how much day old rice you have. If you do decide to make it using fresh cooked rice then decrease the water when cooking so that the rice is drier and not mushy; it helps to make fresh rice in the morning and letting it “dry” a bit before making fried rice for lunch or dinner.
Easy Fried Rice
Cooked White Rice – preferably day old rice
1-2 Tsp. Minced Garlic – adjust to taste
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce – adjust to taste and the amount of rice you have
Scrambled Egg chopped into pieces
Meat – I use canned Spam or Portuguese Sausage but you can use any type of breakfast meat you want like bacon or sausage – cooked and diced
2-4 Stalks Green Onions Chopped
1/2 Cup Frozen Green Peas (Optional)
2 Tbl. Oil
Cook and dice your Egg and Meat – set aside.
Heat Oil in Wok or Frying Pan
Stir in garlic and cook about 45 seconds. Don’t let it burn – lower heat if you have to.
Add cooked rice and mix well with garlic. Break up any large clumps of rice.
Drizzle soy sauce over rice and stir in making sure it is evenly distributed. Add more a little at a time if needed. Don’t over do the soy sauce as your fried rice will be too salty.
Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix in to the rice evenly.
Garnish with extra green onions if desired. Serve hot.