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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Philippine Fried Rice and The World System: 'Sinangag' Salad

'Asian' Fried Rice That's Not Fried

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I call this recipe 'Fried Rice Salad'. This recipe uses different vegetables, cashews etc. added to the rice with some mint, lemongrass and basil. 

1 1/2 c Basmati rice
3 c water (more if needed)
4 Tablespoons *lemongrass water mixture
(1/4 c  sliced lemongrass- 1/2 c water  Blended :optional)
1/2 c thawed frozen peas
1/2 c thawed frozen corn
1/4 nori sheet cut up into strips
1/2 c washed raw cashews (or roasted cashews) 
4-5 leaves big sweet basil 
3 Tbsp Braggs Liquid aminos (no salt soy sauce) or soy sauce (as needed) 
2 Tbsp Olive oil

Note: It is advised that you 
adjust the recipe according to your body's preference.  


Put the rice and the water in a pot with the lemongrass water. Cook on high until it boils.
Turn the thermostat to low and simmer until done. 

Remove the steamed rice from the fire and put all ingredients in, while the rice is still hot.

Combine All Ingredients folding the vegetables, the soy sauce and the olive oil 

Get a plate and put the rice in the middle of it. 
Serve with any cooked meat dish, vegetarian meat,  vegan meat or raw vegan meat dish 


I grew up eating fried rice made of sauteed garlic and salt.In the Philippines we call this dish, 'Sinangag'.

The way we cook it is, when there's left-over rice from the day before, we recycle this by sprinkling it with a little bit of water to soften it a bit, then we sprinkle a pinch of salt, mix it with our hands to remove clumps of rice and then we fry the rice in vegetable oil with smashed garlic that are cooked until golden brown, resulting in a firmer rice texture with a fried garlic aroma. 

Unfortunately, the poor sometimes only eat rice with salt because that's what they can afford. They do not have that much money to be able to cook a fried rice 'sinangag dish' with eggs etc.

The aroma of the fried garlic fills the kitchen when we wake up in the morning.

We ate this during breakfast with scrambled eggs, or sunny side up, and fried milkfish marinated in garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper.  We also ate fried rice with fried sardines which we call 'tuyo' meaning 'dry', which has a distinct fishy 'dried fish' aroma that permeates the whole house.

This is what my mom and grandmother fed us. 

As i walk back, i can see that i ate this for the pleasure of eating it accepting and allowing my mind to direct me , rather than me directing me - rather than looking at what the body needs.

The salty taste of the fish plus the fat in the rice and the aroma of the garlic plus the soft texture of the egg, contrasting with the firm texture of the fired dried sardines creates a 'pleasant mind experience' where i connected the words fried rice, 'family', 'happiness' 'love' etc. which is not really what the word 'fried rice' nor what the word 'eating' means. 

I redefined the word 'Eating' here:

When i got married the first thing i learned was to cook to be able to give my 'then' husband good food for his 'pleasure' -as i assumed that he would get 'pleasure from it as i did, when i believed my mom gave me 'pleasure' through cooking me food. This is how i defined myself within cooking and eating. I was cooking trying to give 'pleasure' and eating to get 'pleasure' which made eating a 'pleasure mind experience' or a 'happy experience' rather than a real physical experience

Looking at society, as how we exist now in this unequal world system, this desire for 'pleasure' or 'happiness' is the one that drives consumerism. We can see that whatever food we like is being produced by food companies in exchange for money and profit.

If we look deeper we will see that the advertisements presented in the media are impulsing our desire to eat tasty food and in exchange for the 'pleasure' we get out of eating them we give them money and profit.

For example, companies like the "Sinangag Express' in the Philippines, produce 'sinangag' or fried rice and other dishes to give the Filipinos 'pleasure' in exchange for money and profit. 


We can see that McDonald advertise hamburgers which is a popular sandwich in the world. This became popular because people like to eat them and Mc Donald capitalized on that so developed a hamburger that will satisfy that desire. The interesting question to ask ourselves is, 'did we create McDonalds'? Using commonsense, i'd say yes.

If we are paying attention to what's happening in this physical reality, we can see that these food items and other things we use to produce food comes from the earth. 

The vegetables, fruits, animal meats. veggie meats etc.come from the earth.

The electricity, water, air etc. comes from the earth and these natural resources are being sold by big corporations to food producers and households to earn money and profit.

Did we create them too?

We created a 'pleasure' or 'happiness' based society and the consequence of that, we have to face.

While the poor and unemployed are born in this world just like all of us, they are not being given equal opportunity to survive. The money earned from the earth's natural resources by the big corporations can be given to the unemployed as Guaranteed Basic Income so all of us can survive, we have to realize this is possible and doable.

Is this relevant to cooking and food preparation? Absolutely.

Making recipes to support the body is one thing, but we have to also look at other aspects of food production relating to all parts of our life - from the point of what will benefit all of us, instead of 'what will give us 'pleasure' or 'happiness' within our mind.

So, now that we have seen how humans connect food to 'pleasure, money etc, we are ready to make a fried rice 'Sinangag' Salad.

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