Gray Matter


Filipino Fried Rice

RT Cunningham | August 8, 2020 (UTC) | Food and Drink

fried rice Variations of fried rice are common in many Asian countries. I’m writing about the Filipino version, which shouldn’t be confused with Chinese fried rice. The Filipino version is much tastier, even with fewer ingredients.

Fried Rice in General

According to this Wikipedia article on fried rice, “It is made from cold leftover rice fried with other leftover ingredients… There are dozens of varieties of fried rice, each with their own specific list of ingredients.” The two sentences conflict with each other.

I’ve had my fair share of the different varieties over the past 35 plus years and I can tell you first hand that Filipinos don’t use leftover rice. There isn’t any leftover rice when it comes to Filipinos.

Any specific variety of Filipino fried rice shouldn’t be confused with fried rice in China or other Asian countries. Filipinos don’t normally add peas, bean sprouts, celery or carrots. That is, unless the family is of Chinese descent. Although my wife, Josie, has spent more time in the United States than the Philippines, she still makes pork and shrimp fried rice like a Filipino would.

Some meats are more suited for fried rice than others. I can see fried rice being made with chicken, pork or shrimp, but I can’t see it being made with beef.

Pork Fried Rice

Pork fried rice is normally made with rice (obviously), other ingredients and, of course, pork. While no specific part of the pig is required, it’s normally the same parts used for pork chops and such. What Josie does when regular pork pieces aren’t available is substitute wieners.

We call them wieners in the United States, but they just call them hot dogs in the Philippines. Americans know “hot dogs” include the buns and condiments, but not Filipinos.

What do you expect when one of the major suppliers of wieners in the Philippines, San Miguel Pure Foods, labels them as hot dogs? I have yet to see a package, that isn’t imported, with “wieners” on the label.

Preparation and Cooking

I’ve observed Josie cooking both pork and shrimp fried rice, but I still asked her for her recipe because I want to know how to cook this stuff when she’s away.

The ingredients she uses are:

She starts by cooking rice in a rice cooker, which takes about 30 minutes. While she’s waiting, she’ll scramble the eggs and fry them all together like an omelet, and then she’ll cut the eggs into small pieces. This is also when she’ll “precook” the pork or shrimp.

When she starts frying the rice, she puts a little vegetable oil in a deep skillet to prevent the rice from burning. She turns it often while adding soy sauce until the rice turns golden brown. You may have heard the old saying, “too much sauce spoils the goose”. Well, it’s the same thing with soy sauce and rice. The flavor of the soy sauce shouldn’t overwhelm everything else.

As she cooks the fried rice, she’ll add the ingredients one by one, starting with the meat and ending with the eggs. The entire process, from cooking the rice in a rice cooker, to removing the fried rice from the skillet and putting it into a serving dish, only takes about an hour.

This amount of fried rice will feed four or five people. When we’re around our relatives, on her side of the family, there are never any leftovers.

Photo Attribution: NGOC BAO LE from Pixabay
Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in June 2013.

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