budget leftover fried rice
Tuesday, 17 Jan 2017


I’m currently vaguely looking for my next gig (fully remote, preferably part-time), but until then my primary occupation now is caring for and spending time with my cat, which means I gotta be budget. I realised today (with a surprise) that I’m perfectly happy staying within a little circle around our apartment. It’s a little hikikomori, but there is a gym, a park, supermarkets, a cafe and a great little kosher bakery within a ten-minute walk, and for everything else there’s delivery. Hubbub even delivers cakes from Konditor & Cook, dorayaki from the Japan Centre and other special things. In any case, I have a stash of cookbooks from the London restaurants and cafes I love (like the aforementioned Konditor & Cook, Ottolenghi and the Hummingbird Bakey.

Cooking. It’s like going out, but less hassle, and cheaper.

Cheaper is important when you’re gig-less.

People seem to like to tell family stories about food on their food blogs, and here is one of mine.

When I was little, maybe five or so, my parents were young, with a mortgage and a little child. My father was a social worker, which is one of those rewarding jobs that doesn’t pay well, and my mother was a SAHM who was previously a kindergarten teacher (which also doesn’t pay well). Every month, the week before my father got paid, we would eat the cheapest square meal my mother could rustle up. This was usually fried rice.

We had fried rice in all its permutations, but mostly with egg, those diced frozen vegetables and frozen chicken wings or fish fingers. So today, with a frugal feeling in my heart and random veg and a lot of roast chicken in the fridge, I decided to make a super easy and budget fried rice. There are two cheats here which I apologise for. The first is Bart Blends Indonesian Goreng spice mix which I already have amongst my quite extensive spice mix collection. The other is my Zojirushi rice cooker, which allows me to steam rice while I chop vegetables.

I did look for a frozen veg mix in Sainsburys but there was only one, some kind of fanciful microwave bag mixture which was more expensive than the diced veg mix from my budget friendly childhood. And honestly when it comes down to a bag of frozen veg, I get that I’m-being-ripped-off feeling if I’m not buying it from Iceland for a quid. So instead I got a can of peas and sweetcorn which I could combine with the carrots and broccoli I already had at home. Obviously you can use any random veg and meat you have lurking around. That’s the whole point of this recipe, it’s fluid and allows you to mop up spare bits of other meals and odd veg. Use whatever combination of spices you’d like, I suggest cayenne pepper, white pepper, ground ginger, cumin, onion. This is a fulfilling, easily adaptable and truly budget meal.

budget leftover fried rice

  • leftover roast chicken
  • half a broccoli
  • one carrot
  • half a drained tin of peas
  • half a drained tin of sweetcorn
  • 170g uncooked basmati rice
  • dark soy sauce
  • sweet chilli sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • Bart Blends Indonesian Goreng Seasoning
  • dried chilli flakes

Before anything, steam the rice. Set aside.

Cut the broccoli into florets. Peel and dice the carrots into little cubes. Peel the ginger and garlic cloves.

Heat some oil in a pan.

Using a garlic press, crush the garlic cloves and peeled ginger into the hot oil.

Add the leftover roast chicken, tiny cubes of carrot and broccoli florets, cook until softened.

Add the basmati rice, peas and sweetcorn, nasi goreng seasoning, dried chilli flakes, dark soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce to taste. I added about a tablespoon of the soy and chili sauces.

Stir-fry over a high heat, mixing quickly with a wooden spoon until the flavours are combined. Take off the heat and serve.