Recipe: Leftover Rice to Awesome Garlic Fried Rice

Growing up in an Asian household, I was trained to respect food especially rice.  I can still remember the countless occasions my grandmother would tell me stories about the life cycle of rice. Whenever I refuse to finish the last morsel on my plate, she will make sure I will understand how much time, hard work, prayer, sacrifice and even tears shed for a cup of rice.

You know what?  Her efforts paid off, big time.  I rarely throw away rice.  What can I say? It just hurts my feelings! So, what then do I do with all the leftovers?  Fried Rice!

Okay, I’m getting the secret out of the box now.  Since I get a lot of questions from my friends about their fried rice being too mushy and even sticky, I have to share with you what I learned from my grandma. The best way to get that familiar texture of fried rice from Asian restaurants and even take-outs is to use day or even days old cold steamed rice.

By now, you must have seen that my family eats steamed rice everyday.  If there is a cup or more left, I put it in an airtight container and store it in the freezer until I have enough to serve six persons. In my experience, it can be frozen for a good month or two.

When it is time to make some fried rice, I just defrost the rice in the refrigerator overnight or in the microwave.  Then using your hands, mash the rice to remove the lumps. Don’t remove the water.  Now you have prepared the perfect type of rice to make some fried rice.

Below is the recipe for a basic Garlic Fried Rice.  You can add whatever cooked vegetables or meat on hand to kick it up a notch.  Possibilities are endless so be creative.

Have a great week Frugalista Moms!


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4 cups cooled cooked steamed rice
4 Tbs. garlic chopped
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbs. butter (I used Earth Balance Buttery Spread Soy free)
1. Prepare your leftover rice. Make sure it is properly defrosted. Set aside.
2. Preheat a big sauté pan or wok.
3. Slowly cook the garlic in oil until light brown.  Be extra careful not to burn it. Remove the garlic and set aside.
4. In the same pan with the garlic oil, put the prepared rice and stir fry.
5. Stir in 3 minute intervals.  Make sure you scrape the bottom to prevent the rice from sticking and burning.
6. Season with salt.
7. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until the rice is well heated through.
8. Transfer rice to a serving platter and top with the reserved garlic.
Note: If you are adding other ingredients like vegetables and meat (chicken strips, ham, sausage), do it after five minutes of stir frying.


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