Make the Most of Your Leftover Rice

. September 03, 2021
Illustration of rice bags

Too much rice? Follow these handy recipes that will make the most of your leftovers.

Once rice is cooked, it should be cooled as quickly as possible before storing in the fridge. Spread it out on a baking tray for quick cooling.  Don’t let it sit around at room temperature for any length of time as bacteria will form, which won’t be destroyed by cooking or reheating. 

Stir-fry: Make a punchy kimchi rice for a maximum-flavour meal with minimal effort. 

Heat a little oil in a sauté pan and fry off sliced red onion, grated ginger and crushed garlic. Add well drained kimchi, a splash of soy and cooked rice. Toss together until hot and starting to go crispy in patches.  

Serve with any cooked greens such as bok choy or broccolini, sliced red chilli, chopped coriander and pieces of fried firm tofu if desired.  

Crispy Rice Cakes: Mix 2 cups cold cooked rice with 2 tablespoons purchased red or green curry paste, 4 tablespoons regular or rice flour for a gluten free version, 4 tablespoons desiccated coconut and 1 beaten egg, adding a little more flour if needed to hold together. Form into 1cm, rough shaped patties and fry in oil over a medium low heat until golden and crispy on the outside. 

Delicious with a salad of sliced cucumber and red onion, shredded lettuce, fresh herbs like mint, coriander and thai basil. Add roasted peanuts or cashew nuts and sliced chillis. Whisk together equal quantities of lime juice and fish sauce with a pinch of sugar for dipping.  

Zesty Rice Stuffing: Lots of vegetables can be filled with this Mediterranean style rice stuffing to make a super tasty meal. Eggplants, zucchini, butternut pumpkin and halved capsicums are perfect along with wrapping the rice in preserved vine leaves to make dolma. 

Fry off sliced onions and plenty of garlic in olive oil until tender. Add chopped nuts, currants, any chopped herbs, a little ground allspice and cumin, a couple of chopped tomatoes and about 2 cups of cooked rice. Season with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes until the flavours combine. Spoon into the vegetable cavities and top with grated cheese. Covering and bake until tender. Other additions are chopped cooked vegetables, pitted olives, capers, diced ham and cooked bacon and feta.  

Sweet Rice Pudding: Combine equal measure of cooked rice and milk in a saucepan:ie 2 cups rice and 2 cups milk or use 1½  cups milk with ½ cup cream for a richer version.  

Add a little sugar, maple syrup or honey to taste and a pinch of salt. Extras for flavour are a dash of vanilla extract, a pinch of ground cinnamon and a few raisins, cranberries or sultanas. Cook, uncovered, over a low heat until thickened, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Delicious served with a dollop of whipped cream and berry jam.  

Spanish Style Chicken and Rice: Heat some olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add diced boneless chicken thighs, 1each sliced onion and capsicum and 2 cloves crushed garlic. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 teaspoon each smoked paprika and ground cumin, cook 2 minutes. Add 2 cups cooked rice, about ½ cup stock and cook for another 5 minutes then stir in chopped parsley. Delicious with a dollop of aioli and a good squeeze of lemon juice.  

Bacon Fried Rice Omelette: Cook some chopped bacon, crushed garlic and spring onions in a little oil in a sauté pan. Add cooked rice and frozen peas, cover and cook until hot. Stir in chopped herbs such as parsley, coriander or mint. Make an omelet, adding a dash of soy sauce, in a non-stick pan and when just starting to set on top, spoon the rice onto one side and fold over the other side. Cook until done to your liking then slide onto a plate and serve with tomato chilli relish.