Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Garlic Fried Rice #recipe by Mia P. Manansala @MPMtheWriter

I shared my longganisa and sawsawan (dipping sauce) preparation last time, so today I’m sharing the recipe for a common accompaniment to longganisa: sinangag, or garlic fried rice. This is not only a simple, tasty treat, but it’s an excellent way to repurpose day-old rice, which tends to get dry in the fridge. I do NOT suggest attempting this recipe with freshly cooked rice--it’ll have too much moisture and the grains will mush together rather than separate and get coated in the garlic oil.

This recipe can easily be scaled up or down depending on the size of your household, and while commonly consumed for breakfast in Filipino families, it makes a great side dish for any meal. It’s most often served with longganisa (Filipino sausage), tapa (lightly dried beef), tocino (sweet cured pork), Spam, fried fish, and/or eggs, but would pair well with many other types of protein or even a veggie stir fry.

Longganisa, garlic fried rice, and a fried egg (longsilog) topped with sriracha, steamed broccoli, spicy vinegar dipping sauce


2 cups of cold, leftover rice (preferably with large clumps broken up)

½ head of garlic, minced*

A couple tablespoons of neutral-flavored oil (preferably with a high smoke point)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Green onions, sliced (optional)


Wok or any pan that has a wide surface area


  1. Add oil and garlic to pan, then turn the heat to medium.
  2. Let garlic cook slowly to infuse the oil, until it reaches a light, golden brown. Watch the garlic carefully because it burns easily, which will make the whole dish bitter.
  3. Once the garlic reaches the right color, remove it to a clean bowl and set aside, leaving the garlic-infused oil in the pan.
  4. Add the rice and stir quickly to coat the grains in the oil.
  5. Spread the rice out over the surface and let it cook untouched for about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Stir the rice thoroughly, then spread it out and let cook untouched again for about 3-5 minutes until the rice reaches your desired level of doneness.
  7. Add the fried garlic back to the pan, reserving some for garnish if desired, and stir to distribute the garlic evenly.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Dish out your garlic rice and garnish with extra fried garlic and green onions if you’d like.
  10. Enjoy! 

*Sometimes I’m too lazy to mince garlic (it’s breakfast time, who has the energy for that?) so I’ve substituted garlic powder and packaged fried garlic (available in many Asian grocery stores/store aisles) for fresh. Let the garlic powder brown slightly in the oil before tossing in the rice. You can also toss in packaged fried garlic at the end if you want the garlic bits in your rice. I don’t suggest using the packaged fried garlic alone since you can’t infuse the oil, which leads to a rather bland dish.

Cast of Characters

Add the oil and garlic to the wok and heat slowly. Once it's golden brown, remove garlic to a clean bowl, but keep the oil in the pan.

Add the rice to the pan and mix till all the grains are coated with garlic oil. Spread the rice out out so it's in a thin layer covering the surface of the pan. Let cook for 3-5 minutes.

Add the garlic back to the pan, then stir to evenly distribute the garlic with the rice. Spread out in the pan again and cook for another 3-5 minutes until it reaches your desired level of doneness. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Garnish with green onions and more fried garlic, then serve with an egg and your choice of protein (Spam pictured here). Enjoy!

I am an absolute garlic fiend (if you haven’t noticed), so I love this side dish. What are your favorite garlic-heavy recipes? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. We're garlic fiends, too, Mia. If a recipe calls for three cloves, we count out five or six or seven and ask each other, "this is three, isn't it?" The answer is always, "Yep." Thanks for another great recipe.

    1. Haha that's how I calculate garlic as well! Thanks, Molly.

  2. Sounds great.
    My son loves garlic. Even as a little boy he would eat heavily flavored foods like pasta with garlic oil and garlic bread. So much so that the next day his body smelled like garlic! At age two!
    He IS Korean and they are known as the garlic eaters, so I guess it's in his one of the twists in his DNA.

    1. I taught English in South Korea for three and a half years, and I absolutely LOVE how much garlic they use in their cuisine. Hope you give this a try!

  3. Replies
    1. Hi Kim! I know not everyone loves garlic the way I do, so I'm usually careful to include a note stating that the garlic is attuned to my tastes, so adjust the recipe accordingly. This recipe still works well if you replace the garlic with a few scrambled eggs and a bit more salt and pepper.

  4. Oh yum, does this sound great! I make fried rice a lot, but I love the simplicity--and garlicyness! (is that even a word? Well it should be)--of this recipe!

    1. Hey Leslie! I agree, the simplicity is key--no having to chop and prep all those ingredients so early in the morning. It's honestly great with just an egg and bit of hot sauce.

  5. We're garlic lovers, too! My Sicilian mother taught me to cook at an early age, and part of my kitchen "jobs" was to chop garlic with other veggies and aromatics for meals, and poke holes in roasts and meat and add garlic along with stuffing artichokes & making sauces. My world-traveler Cajun dad would never have gotten me to try escargot if it weren't for my first trip to Quebec/Montreal where I enjoyed the delicious aroma and taste of dipping French bread into the garlic-butter sauce! Now for decades I like to experiment with all different ethnic foods. I also usually make extra rice, so your recipe is an easy one we'll all appreciate!

    1. A good garlic-butter sauce will get me to try just about anything. Thanks for commenting, Lynn! Hope you enjoy the recipe.

  6. I am always looking for ways to use leftover rice, this sounds like it will make for tasty leftovers!