Having leftover rice from Chinese food you ordered or even from your Sunday lunch is a common occurrence. Most times it stays dried out in the fridge or you endure the dryness of the rice and eat with another meal. However, sad rice leftovers should not be the case. Stale rice is a key ingredient for many delicious dishes—most of which, do not take extremely long to make. It’s really up to you if you would like to spend an extra half hour for an amazing dish or suffer through a pretty mediocre one.
Whichever you choose, here are some meal ideas that would hopefully, guide you to the right side.
#1 Fried Rice
We know this is pretty obvious. Most people use stale or day old rice to make fried rice as the grains are usually drier and crisp up better than freshly cooked rice. White, brown and even jasmine or basmati rice can be made into fried rice. Instead of the traditional peas and carrots, try adding in a variety of ingredients. We love pineapples and basically any vegetable we have on hand, scrambled or fried eggs and sausages (lap cheong sausage would be excellent).
#2 Rice Salad
Tossing stale rice in a vinaigrette along with fresh vegetables is an excellent way to save what could have been wasted rice. Stale rice is usually old and dry; a vinaigrette can help moisten the rice and make it more palatable. Fresh vegetables also add texture to the stale rice which can become grainy and hard. We recommend using stale brown or wild rice for this recipe idea.
#3 Rice Pudding
Rice pudding is a decadent way to utilise old, leftover rice. As was mentioned previously, old rice is dry and thus, benefits from any opportunity where it can absorb moisture. Rice pudding or, what is essentially ‘sweet rice’ calls for simmering rice with milk, aromatics and any type of sweetener. Alarm bells should go off that this is exactly what leftover rice was made for. It will absorb the moisture of the milk and flavour of the aromatic. You may not even know it was made with leftover rice.
#4 Stuffed Vegetables
Vegetables like sweet peppers, zucchinis, tomatoes and mushroom caps can be filled with meats, other veggies, grains and cheese. Leftover rice mixed with aromatics, legumes, vegetables or meat and cheese. It’s a whole new way to enjoy rice. As was mentioned previously, leftover rice is usually dry, however, liquid from the vegetable that you are stuffing and additional meat or vegetables will increase the moisture content of the dish and create a delicious, hearty dish.
Leftover rice is a great way to bulk up the heartiness of a soup. We recommend adding in rice towards the end of the cooking process to ensure that the grains do not become overcooked. Pair rice with a protein like chicken or, lentils for vegetarians.