For April’s Grow Your Own, I am sharing with you an age-old practice in my father’s hometown. It is basically a rice growing town, with farmers still practicing traditions handed down for generations. One of these traditions is patilaok or the sharing of rice harvests. It is the practice to share with friends and neighbors the first batch of milled rice from their rice harvest. So often we get a share, a kilo or two, from neighbors. We get to taste different rice varieties as they are really proud of their harvest. Since April is harvest season, we have enjoyed these gifts each week.
We eat rice three times a day. When cooking rice for dinner, we often cook extra rice so that the leftover rice can be cooked as fried rice for the next day’s breakfast. Sometimes, we cook fried for lunch or dinner if the dish calls for it, if there is extra rice and if I feel like cooking fried rice (which can be often).
2 tbsp vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups cold cooked rice, crumbled to separate grains
a bunch of cilantro, chopped
Heat oil in wok. Add 1 tsp salt, stir to dissolve salt then add the garlic. Cook garlic in oil, make sure it does not get burnt. When garlic is light brown in color, add the rice. Stir quickly to prevent rice from sticking in the wok and to distribute heat evenly throughout the rice. I usually cook it like this for around 5 minutes. When rice is heated through, remove from fire then add the fresh cilantro. Stir again then serve.
I served cilantro rice with fried salted fish. The fish is called espada or swordfish, about 12-15 inches long flat fish with thin flesh. The fish is cut in the middle to open it up, cleaned then salted and dried. This was my first time to eat this kind of dried fish. The saltiness was just right and it was very crunchy when fried.