First off: If you are going to reheat rice, be sensible and be safe. The NHS has guidelines HERE, and whilst I admit that I’ve reheated rice after more than one day in the fridge a couple of times in the past, I have followed all other guidelines throughout my cooking life.
OK, with that in mind, let’s move on to: one of my favourite “leftover user” meals: fried rice with lentils!
So, you have chilli (or maybe curry?) one night. You’re already thinking “man, let’s get a pizza tomorrow, I’ve cooked enough this week”. Just me? Probably because we make the chilli on Monday, and every takeaway pizza place does their best deal on a Tuesday where I live. They call to me…
So, here’s what I suggest to stave off that cheesy-bread craving: make extra rice now, on Monday night, and put it in the fridge as soon as possible, whilst continuing to cook tonight’s meal.
Returning to Tuesday night, we now need very little extra to get this rice really singing.
– some onion-y things (big onions, spring onions/scallions, shallots, leeks, whatever)
– some green lentils (dried or canned, it doesn’t matter)
– something to fry with (oil, butter, fat, whatever)
– tasty herbs and spices – don’t overdo it (I usually ignore my own advice here)
Chop onions, boil kettle.
Get big frying pan on the heat with oil, and saucepan with kettle’s contents on the boil. Add lentils to saucepan of water. Gently stir until it’s back on a rolling boil. Add onions to frying pan:
Stir onions and skim scum off lentils for a little while.
Once onions are starting to brown, add rice to frying pan. This is where we’re smart and safe. Gently stir the rice around the pan over the next 5/10/15 mins, as long as it take to get it fully heated through and steam rising off it from all parts of the pan. The upshot of this is, by the time that happens, you’ll have all these awesome little crispy bits, the onions will be meltingly soft (but with crispy brown bits, still) and the lentils will be done. In fact, keep an eye on them as you may need to drain them before the rice is done.
Add your tasty herbs and spices to the rice while frying. Contrary to the way I prepare almost all other meals, I tend to forego garlic in this dish. It can overpower the smoky savoury taste of fried rice. In the below, I’ve used cayenne pepper and nutmeg. I went a little too strong on the nutmeg (which was AWESOME for me, a consummate over-seasoner).
Drain lentils, add to rice, stir through. In the below, I’d say it’s slightly too much lentil for the amount of rice. Healthy, but not to everyone’s taste.
Keep stirring, letting the lentils get a little fried and re-heated through and really making sure that rice is fully cooked. Now would be a good time to bung other leftovers in the microwave…
Finally, serve up. It’s simple, super-cheap, relatively quick, and goes with almost anything (once you’re on board with the idea of mid-week leftovers dinner, especially!). Below it is shown with my reheated veggie quesadillas. Bliss.