We moved to Hong Kong from the Philippines when we were little and aside from trips to Manila every Christmas, our most significant connection to our Filipino Chinese roots was through our food. My Mom fed us dishes from an assortment of heirloom recipes from my grandmother, and treasured recipes from friends and family that she meticulously wrote down including the name of who shared the recipe with her. Some of them were purely Filipino recipes, some Spanish, others Filipino Chinese. But to me, it was all just comfort food.
With all of my favourite homecooked Filipino dishes, white rice was always the accompaniment. But in the mornings we got garlic rice. Made simply with leftover rice and loads of garlic, we would eat it with an egg and a traditional Filipino breakfast dish like tapa, tocino, various canned meats like corned beef, and my ultimate favourite, bangus! We loved it so much that it often replaced white rice on the dinner table. It’s definitely the one Filipino dish I cook the most.
The secret to getting the most delicious and authentic Filipino recipes isn’t from a cookbook but from households that have been cooking the same loved recipes for generations. This is how my Mom taught me how to make garlic rice, as she grew up eating and making it before me. Sky’s the limit for how much garlic to use and add the garlic while the oil is still cold and fry (or sort of confit) it at a lower heat to allow the garlic flavour to infuse the oil which will then permeate the rice when it coats it.
Making garlic rice is typically what you do when you have leftover rice because newly cooked rice is too soft and sticky to use. But it’s so good that I often make rice a day or 2 ahead just so I’ll have old rice sitting around to turn into garlic, garlicky, garlic rice. Use jasmine rice or any other long grain rice.
Or add an egg to it and other leftover veggies and meats you have to turn it into a fried rice.
To those who say you can never have too much garlic (ME!)? Try it with this delicious Garlicky Chicken with Lemon-Anchovy sauce…along with a shot of Listerine after the meal for your guests to gargle.
Or for days of incredible laziness like yesterday (see striped PJs under bowl), eat it alone with a runny fried egg, a drizzle of soy sauce and sesame oil, and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and call it a meal.
Honestly, I eat this with anything and everything.
What you need:
4 cups day-old Jasmine rice
8-10 (or more!) garlic cloves, minced
Salt and Pepper
2-3 T Olive Oil
3-4 eggs, beaten (optional)
What to do:
1. Heat up the oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
2. Add the minced garlic while the oil is heating up and lower the heat if you need to prevent it from browning too fast. Keep an eye on it and keep stirring, make sure not to let it burn!
3. Add the cooked rice, stir to combine, and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
4. If you’re using eggs, make a well in the middle of the rice, add a little oil then break the eggs into the middle. Beat the egg to scramble. Then mix the rice to combine with eggs. Alternatively, you can scramble and fry up the eggs separately then mix in the scrambled eggs to the rice mixture.
5. Season with salt and pepper then mix and continue to cook for about 3-5 minutes.
6. Serve and enjoy!