It’s only been about two weeks since I started cooking in a college setting. But in those two weeks I have learned something valuable: rice is very versatile. I don’t just mean what it can be eaten with but also how it can be made, especially how leftover rice can be used to make different dishes for other meals of the day.
The issue of leftover rice first presented itself when I realized that the rice cooker I owned needed a minimum amount of rice to cook properly. However, this minimum amount of rice was more than I could eat in one meal. In other words, I would always end up with leftovers that I had to save for later.
This is where the versatility comes in. There are plenty of ways to use leftover rice to make entirely new meals. The simplest is porridge for breakfast. Just throw the leftover rice in a pot, add water, and let the water boil. The result is a warm porridge that can be eaten with any variety of salted or pickled dishes (radishes, tofu, etc.). Using leftover rice to make porridge also has the added benefit of being much faster than making porridge from uncooked rice. With uncooked rice, it can take half an hour for the rice to soak up the water and become soft. Using leftover rice, however, the rice is already cooked and soft, so it’s only a matter of adding water to change the consistency.
Another way I use the leftover rice is to make fried rice. After stir-frying it, the rice is flavorful and fresh. What’s more, with fried rice it is easy to add eggs, vegetables, and meat to the mix, making for a balanced meal. It is also much faster than making a fresh batch of rice just to be stir-fried.
These are all things leftover rice can be used to make. Rice from dinner can be used to make meals for breakfast and lunch the next day—and all in quick and easy ways, too! Now, I even intentionally leave some leftover rice so that I can make porridge and fried rice easily later.