The sound of constant, loud female chatter in the kitchen.
The sight of my great-grandmother slathering butter onto white bread then sprinkling it with sugar for my afternoon snack.
The smell of fried rice, Spam, and fried eggs filling the air for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Food holds powerful memory magic for me. There is an emotional connection that binds me to certain dishes and is awakened each time my present day self catches a whiff or sight or hears echoes from food memories of the past.
My birthday was yesterday, and since it’s my birthday week, I thought I’d share one of my childhood favorites with you all: Filipino Fried Rice.
Filipino Fried Rice
Traditional Filipino Fried Rice is simply garlicky fried rice.
Over the years, I’ve come to realize that – much like other traditional dishes, like chicken adobo (I have an Instant Pot Chicken Adobo recipe coming next week!) and pancit – every island in the Philippines and every Filipino family prepares this classic dish a bit differently.
For instance, growing up here in the United States, my family’s version of Longsilog (Filipino sausage with rice and eggs), was Spam, fried rice, and fried eggs. This was because it was a lot easier to find (and cheaper to buy) Spam at the supermarket back then, than it was to find and buy longsilog.
My version of Filipino Fried Rice – two ways
Over the years, I’ve enjoyed many, many, MANY different versions of Filipino Fried Rice, made by family members, friends, and professional chefs. I’ve learned that it is very rare to find one particular preparation of almost any Filipino dish that is consistent among Filipino chefs and home cooks alike.
I mean, if we were going to call this TRUE Filipino food, I wouldn’t have photos of utensils here at all – I grew up with the understanding that rice is always to be eaten with nature’s best gifts: your hands.
But truth be told, I sometimes use chopsticks, which is very untraditional for Filipino food.
So this Filipino Fried Rice recipe is a nod to the spirit in which traditional Filipino Fried Rice is made — with my personal Filipino-American twist.
The version I am sharing with you is the one I make now with my own family. I usually make it with bacon, but sometimes also with sausage.
And here’s the thing about making sausage fried rice: do not get caught up on the exact type of sausage you use. Like many Filipino recipes, this is a “use what’s in the fridge” type of recipe, so whatever your favorite sausage is, use that!
Filipino Fried Rice Recipe
OMG! Chopsticks in a Filipino food photo again! The horror! Chill, food police: it’s all good, and doesn’t in any way affect the taste of this recipe – I promise! ;)
A quick, easy family recipe
My teenager LOVES this fried rice recipe! And, I love making it.
It always brings me back to the sights, smells, and sounds of home… growing up with a boisterous Filipino family who loved to cook and enjoy meals together, whether the recipes were old-school traditional recipes or inspired by our Filipino roots.
Filipino Fried Rice
This version of Filipino Fried Rice is versatile and hearty enough to enjoy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
- 4 cups cooked white rice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped bacon OR sliced sausage
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1/2 cup corn (optional!)
- 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 eggs
- 2 green onion stalks, sliced thinly
- salt and pepper
Cook white rice according to package instructions. Set aside.
In a large saute pan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add meat (bacon or sausage) to the pan and sauté while stirring constantly for about 3-4 minutes, until the meat is just cooked.
Add garlic to the pan and sauté for 1 minute, stirring regularly.
Add carrots, peas, and corn to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes, just until the veggies are soft.
Add the cooked rice to the pan, and stir to mix in with the veggies.
Create a circular "well" in the center of the pan and crack two eggs into the pan. Stir immediately and briskly with a wooden spoon to whip into scrambled eggs. Once mostly cooked as scrambled eggs, immediately stir together with rice and veggies.
Once all ingredients are well mixed, remove from heat and plate.
Salt and pepper to taste. Top with sliced green onions.
Do YOU have a favorite food from your childhood that always brings back strong memories for you? What dish holds strong food memory for you?