This quick and versatile recipe is a great, inexpensive way to use up leftover rice, as well as extra ingredients in your fridge. I used fish sauce as the main flavoring component here because it’s what I happened to have in the pantry, but feel free to experiment with different combinations — for example, you could try two parts kecap manis to one part sambal oelek for a sweet and spicy Indonesian-style fried rice, or just soy sauce and butter for a more traditional fried rice. For a healthier alternative, substitute some diced carrots and peas or blanched bean sprouts and tofu for the eggs.
Whatever you decide to do though, make sure to use day-old rice; freshly cooked rice has too much moisture and won’t fry well.
Total cost: $2.69
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced ($.22)
- 1 tablespoon of ginger, peeled and minced ($.10)
- 2 eggs ($.62)
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
- ½ onion, finely diced ($.40)
- 2 cups day-old, cooked jasmine or Basmati rice ($.50)
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce ($.21)
- 5 scallions, light and dark green parts, sliced into thin discs ($.65)
- 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute, stirring occasionally to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a bowl and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste.
Add the onion to the pan and allow it to caramelize, approximately 5 minutes. Stir often.
Meanwhile, break up the rice with a wooden spatula. Once the onions have caramelized, increase the heat to medium-high and add the rice and fish sauce.
Cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring often. Break up any brown bits that form on the bottom and incorporate into the mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Fold in the eggs, and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Add the scallions, stir, and remove from heat. If desired, fold in some butter for a richer flavor.