Garlic fried rice is a something that you will always find at the table at almost every home in the Philippines. At least when I was a kid there will always be a platter of garlic fried rice for breakfast at our dining table, as well as at my grandmother’s.
Garlic rice is traditionally served during breakfast in the Philippines along with meats (home made beef jerky, fried porkchop, tocino which is sweet cured pork and/or longganisa which is a Filipino chorizo.) Instead of or in addition to meats, there could also be fried, marinated or dried fish. There will be a saucer of vinegar with garlic and chili peppers for dipping the meats and fish in. The plate is not complete without fried eggs. This entire plate is referred to as silog which is word derived from a combination of Tagalog words sinangag (garlic rice) and itlog (egg).
In my childhood home while growing up in Manila, breakfast was always a feast even on weekdays. It was not unusual to have 2-3 meats and fish with garlic rice and fried eggs. Most likely there will also be salted duck eggs with a salsa made of tomatoes, red onions and cilantro.
This menu is not finished yet — there will surely also be a basket of pandesal. A pandesal is a sweet roll that is baked fresh everyday at local bakeries at the crack of dawn and served hot off the oven. The rolls are eaten with fresh goat cheese, cheddar cheese or sweet coconut jam.
Yes, there is more — at our house, there will be often all kinds of rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves that were just bought from the market that morning, and a fruit or two like mangoes or whatever is in season.
All of these washed down by hot chocolate or milky coffee (3/4 milk with a drop of coffee and lots of sugar) for kids, and instant coffee for adults like Nescafe.
Breakfast in the Philippines is a serious affair. My sister and brother’s families still eat breakfast in this manner here in the US. As much as I want to, I cannot afford to consume all the salt and calories (or have the time to cook like this everyday!). I just wait until I visit my siblings who feed me delicious home cooked Filipino dishes.
Once in a while I crave Filipino food at home such as last weekend. I cooked Filipino breakfast but nothing to the magnitude of the breakfasts at my families’ homes, or what I used to eat in the Philippines.
A craving for silog hit me this weekend so I made myself a version of traditional Filipino breakfast except with less guilt. I cooked garlic rice, fried eggs and meatless breakfast patties from Trader Joe’s. I really enjoyed my breakfast with coffee. It totally hit the spot and satisfied my cravings at least at the moment. (I like my eggs crispy on the edges.)
FILIPINO GARLIC RICE
Garlic rice is the easiest dish in the world to cook. This is also a very forgiving recipe. Put more garlic if you want to make it as garlicky as you want. Warning: this rice is addicting!
You will need:
- About 2 TBSP vegetable oil (although I use extra virgin olive oil because I use it for everything)
- A head of garlic (peeled and smashed)
- 2 cups of day old rice (It has to be leftover day old rice otherwise the rice will be too wet.)
- Salt (optional)
How To Cook Garlic Rice:
- Fry the garlic in oil in medium heat. Be careful to not burn the garlic otherwise your rice will be bitter.
- Remove the garlic from the pan and set aside.
- Fry the rice in the garlic oil until soft. (Do not fry to make the garlic crispy.)
- Season with salt (optional).
- Mix the fried garlic with the rice and continue to fry for another minute.
- Serve with fried eggs, sliced tomato and choice of meat.
Voila! Such a simple recipe and this is coming from a girl who ate (and continues to!) garlic rice all her life!