USA

Of course, like any good Filipino girl, I’m eager to share that taste of home with others. Filipino home cooking features a lot of simple ingredients and beginner-friendly techniques, so if you can boil and sauté, you’re pretty much covered.

That’s great news for me as I continue to build up my cooking repertoire and learn to connect with my home cuisine in different ways. And, not to mention, it’s what kept my old roommates constantly fed!

I’m also fortunate enough to live near San Francisco, where Filipino restaurants are fairly commonplace– and almost always run by families, too. Some of my favorite nights out with friends have ended with a late night diner visit and silog– a blanket name for a breakfast platter with meat, garlic fried rice or sinangag, and an egg (itlog) done however you like. Chasing off a hangover, recovering from a concert or party, settling in after a late flight: there’s nothing that a fragrant, piping-hot mound of garlic rice can’t fix, and I’ve definitely gotten people hooked.

But hey, I might as well stop bragging already and let the food speak for itself. If you’re ready to indulge in some hearty home cooking, just pick up your plate and help yourself. Kain na tayo — let’s eat!

Sinangag / Garlic Fried Rice Recipe

(adapted from Panlasang Pinoy)

Cook time: About 15 minutes, depending on how you like your rice

Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups steamed rice (The best is long grain jasmine rice, but you can use whatever you like or have around. Good rice for sinangag is cold; the best is leftover rice, hard enough not to get mushy when further cooked.)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (Adjust to taste. Let’s be real: there’s never enough garlic.)
  • Enough cooking oil to lightly coat the pan
  • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Optional substitutions: chicken bouillon powder and/or garlic salt over plain salt, Chinese white pepper instead of black, fried garlic — don’t fry it, just add it in closer to the end. You can use sesame oil to shake it up, but watch out: it burns easy and can easily overpower your garlic rice’s flavor.
    • Optional additions: garnish of sliced scallion or more fried garlic, soy sauce for color, leftover meat/vegetables, egg. Like most fried rice, you can customize with whatever you feel like eating — but the traditional sinangag is just garlic and rice!

Method:

  1. Heat the pan to medium high and add the oil.
  2. Add minced garlic and lower heat to medium to avoid burning. Sauté until just browned.
  3. Add rice and mix until well incorporated. Season to taste.
  4. Cook, mixing occasionally, until the rice begins to brown. The less your rice crackles in the pan, the closer it is to being done.
    • Some people (like me!) love tutong — crunchy, fully browned rice that sticks to the bottom of the pan. You can create some tutong in your garlic rice by mixing a little less frequently.
  5. Remove from pan and transfer to a serving plate. Serve with a favorite main dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a few of your favorite people.

Have a play, add some more flavors! Photo credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/26407862@N00

For more Filipino food and advice check out J Mendoza’s other article about how to approach a Filipino party here.