This is Dinner and Change, a column about recipes that feed four people for about $10—or less.
Growing up, I ate a lot of rice. My mom’s cooking got me accustomed to eating it as a side dish with everything: wings, ribs, hot dogs—you name it. While there were plenty of reasons for my mom to keep a batch or two of cooked rice in our kitchen, though, the best might have been sinangag.
This super-garlicky Filipino fried rice was her daily breakfast, and it became something I’d eat anytime I got hungry. (Spoiler alert: it's still something I make whenever I'm hungry.) Sinangag is quick, flavorful, and affordable, and with just a few ingredients, it’s proof that you don’t need much to turn rice into a satisfying meal. (To my surprise as a kid, it doesn’t even include soy sauce, which keeps this fried rice white in color.)
Typically, sinangag is made with leftover rice that gets fried in vegetable oil with lots of garlic. Both the garlic and the rice become crispy, giving the dish a lot of texture. The result is aromatic, with naturally sweet-and-savory characteristics, and rich from all of the flavored oil.
I’m partial to this variation by Nicole Ponseca, which calls for freshly cooked rice—unlike my mom, I don’t always have cooked rice that’s ready to go. In this version, the rice doesn't acquire the same crispness (since it’s not being stir-fried), but the garlicky flavor and crunch is retained.
To make Ponseca’s recipe, start with the garlic chips: Fry thinly sliced cloves in a neutral oil until they're crispy and golden-brown. You want a whole bunch of garlic here—an entire cup of cloves—because the garlic chips, and the fragrant garlic-infused oil you've cooked them in, are everything you’ll use to flavor the rice. (Also, garlic chips and garlic oil make incredible leftovers; see below for suggestions.) Set these two ingredients aside while you prepare the rice. (Ponseca's recipe calls for four cups of cooked rice; if you're starting from scratch, figure 1 1/4 cups of uncooked grain.) When you're ready to eat, fluff your hot, just-cooked rice and toss it with some of the chips and oil, then lightly season with salt—and you’re done. You can enjoy it as is, but my favorite way to eat sinangag is topped with a fried egg.
This recipe costs about 60 cents per person, though, as always, choosing organic ingredients will raise the price significantly. (Eggs, for example, range from $1 per dozen to upwards of $10 per dozen if organic.) Still, the ingredients in sinangag are so elemental that it's almost always going to be an affordable and accessible enough to eat every day. Which, of course, is exactly how often you're supposed to eat it.Nicole PonsecaMiguel Trinidad
Use It Up
You’ll have extra garlic chips and garlic oil; store them in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to seven days. They’d both make great additions to noodles and soups, and I like to use them for sautéed veggies—but really, I can’t think of a savory dish where garlic chips wouldn’t be a delicious addition. To calculate the cost of this recipe, I also assumed a purchase of a dozen eggs—may I suggest any of these any-time-of-the-day egg recipes to put them to good use?
Originally Appeared on Epicurious