Thursday, April 1, 2010

Before the Microwave: Rice Edition

Awhile back, my Mom and I had a conversation about cooking with leftovers before the microwave came along. Nowadays, we reheat dishes in the microwave pretty easily. Before the microwave, it was a little different. Pretty much everything was reheated in the oven, wrapped in foil. Once in awhile, my Mom would have something that needed to be reheated in the "gentle method" of placing the food on a plate over simmering water. As a kid, my favorite were the things that just didn't take well to being reheated in the oven or over simmering water: pasta, rice, potatoes, sometimes meat. In my Mom's hands, these leftover ingredients got new life as they transformed into dishes that were always better the second time around. With a happy heart, I was reminded of how much fun we used to have creating dishes from leftovers instead of just zapping something in a microwave. So with a blast from the past, I'm featuring recipes Before the Microwave. This is the Rice Edition.

You wander into the kitchen and open up the refrigerator for the tenth time today. For some reason, you are expecting to find something new in there. After all, there's got to be something in there you can eat. Just as you're beginning to think that nothing sounds good, you spot that leftover rice. Hmmmmmm...your mind wanders with possibilities and then you remember your Mom's Rice Cakes, the 1980's version, and you decide to put your own spin on it.

Mom's Rice Cakes
A Stirring the Pot Original
Recipe makes about 4 small rice cakes and can be doubled
3/4 - 1 cup leftover rice (white or brown rice, either is fine)
1 egg, whisked
1 teaspoon butter or oil
*A non-stick skillet helps
Optional: This recipe is wide open to any flavorings or toppings of your choice

Begin with a medium-sized bowl (big enough to hold the egg and the rice together). Whisk one egg. Add in any flavorings. I added salt, pepper, and sriracha.

Add in about 3/4 cup rice and mix together.

In a nonstick skillet, over medium heat, melt one teaspoon of butter or one teaspoon oil. The mixture will be too wet to form cakes. Instead, use a spoon to form a rice cake in the pan. The cakes are ready to flip when they begin to set and turn golden brown on the bottom. NOTE: You don't want the heat to be too high or cook them too fast because the rice is cold and you want it to warm through.

The rice cake is cooked through when it is golden brown on both sides, as shown in picture below.

You can top these rice cakes with anything. I topped my rice cakes with an edamame mix and some more sriracha. The possibilities are endless.

If you ask me, I would rather eat these fabulous rice cakes than plain old reheated rice any day of the week! I love the crispness of the rice cake with the veggies. I was in the mood for a light vegetarian meal and this really delivered! I've never made the rice cakes with sriracha before and I was really impressed with the flavor it added. A fun blast from the past, delicious, quick, easy and pretty healthy too! Next time you have leftover rice, give them a try. I guarantee you'll have fun thinking of ways to spice them up!

This is the third edition in the Before the Microwave Series. Click HERE for the Pasta Edition. Click HERE for the Potato Edition.


  1. How did we ever survive before the microwave? lol. I mainly use mine to melt chocolate and simple thing but have never actually cooked a meal in mine. I love these rice cakes and the veggies on top look so inviting.

  2. Your mom sure has some excellent tips for using leftovers.

    The rice cakes look lovely topped with the edamame mix.

    We must be on the same wave length. Last week I had some leftover jambalaya that turned mushy when I reheated it. I hated throwing it out, so turned it into a rice cake of sorts.

  3. I never thought of a rice cake..what a fantastic thing. I can think of so many ways to use left overs...lovely post..thanks a ton :)

  4. These look superb! I'm thinking they would be great covered in some chili also or some type of bean-filled dish. Or stuffed with cheese. The options are endless...

  5. What a great idea. I never would have thought of this, I bet this tastes awesome.
    *kisses* HH

  6. Fantastic! I rarely have leftover rice (or anything) since I have a teenage son. I 'll be making rice just for this.

  7. This sounds and looks WONDERFUL!!! I love making rice and tend to make enough for leftovers. This is a GREAT!!! recipe of leftover rice.
    I have an AWARD for you come by and visit.

  8. OH my goodness, it's like a rice pancake! I love this idea and what could be easier.

  9. They look fantastic! i love these before the microwave posts ;-)

  10. There was a time that we didn't have microwaves?
    LOL. This sound delicious!!!

  11. These look delicious--love how crispy they look and the sriracha sauce is perfect!

  12. Kim, your rice cakes would be a hit at my house. Hope you have a great weekend.

  13. Kim I love your Before the Microwave posts. Reminds me of the "good old days":D... I have been making your potato cakes and freezing them for a quick breakfast side since that post. And I have always saved leftover rice to make these or arancini di risi, Italian rice balls. Great post for what to do with leftovers. Keep it up. Thanks.

  14. I love this series! Microwaved food sometimes taste funny. I'll take this any day! These look so good served with veggies!

  15. These look crisp and lovely. There would be no leftovers in my home. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

  16. Those look awesome! Amazingly, I son't believe I've ever heard of rice cakes like this. I think I will love them for sure!

  17. LOVE this! i really wish i had some leftover rice right now, i might just have to make some. excellent idea!

  18. That is a GREAT idea! I can't wait to try it. So flexible too, you could top it with any other leftovers you might happen to have.

  19. Wow...I love this idea your mom had! Growing up, we did not have a microwave so my mom also took care in what she reheated. In truth, some things tasted so much better the second day...mashed potatoes were my favorite leftovers!

  20. I agree that most foods do not do well being reheated in the microwave. Kudos to you and your mother for making something fabulous.

  21. Love the rice cakes. I'm giving them a try. Happy Eater.

  22. I've never had rice cakes. Lived off potato cakes but have never tired it with rice. Looks good!

    Are you ready for Mark Bittman?!

  23. PattyInCorpusChristiNovember 6, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    I tried your recipe adding finely ground frozen bell peppers and onions, ground dried pequin pepper, salt and fried them in garlic butter (had it on hand) instead of just butter. Yummy! Thanks so much for the recipe. My family says this is a keeper. It's hard to believe that after years of potato patties or scrambled rice, I never thought of rice patties. Pure genius. Thanks again.


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