So, if I weren’t such a lousy blogger, I would have a whole series up here. It’d be about eating on next-to-nothing. Lately, my grocery budget has been about $20 a week, so I’ve really had to perfect the art of eating poor.
This is my favorite breakfast, because it requires almost no thought to produce, it’s impossible to screw up, and it’s inexpensive. My mom made these when I was a kid, and I have no idea where she got the recipe. It’s a little similar to the eggy fritters you get in some Asian cuisines, but pared down a bit.
I don’t know of many Americans who eat something like this, though–I used to talk about rice cakes at college, and people assumed I meant the cardboard Quaker abominations. This couldn’t be further from the truth! They are eggy and divine with little crispy bits, and an excellent way to use up leftover rice.
Oh, my friends, you’re in for a treat. (But you’ll have to excuse the lousy photography; I only make this for breakfast, which means I’m NOT motivated to take good pictures.)
Rice Cakes Recipe
~1.5 cups cooked rice
seasonings of choice
Scramble eggs, and add seasonings. I usually just use the garlic salt and a dash of paprika–occasionally cayenne or chipotle, but I’m rarely that adventurous in the morning. Fresh herbs are fantastic too–cilantro or parsley especially–but, again, it’s morning, and I’m usually much too dazed to do anything but dump in some ground spices.
Add rice to the scrambled eggs. You can adjust the rice-to-egg ratio to your taste. I like it on the eggy side, but if you’re feeling particularly broke, you could up it to two cups of rice for two eggs, or even one egg and one cup of rice.
Heat up some olive oil (or butter, if you’re feeling naughty) in a skillet, on a medium-high heat. Once it’s pretty hot, pour in the batter. I usually get three cakes from this recipe, but if you wanted an even number, you could make them smaller and get four. (I probably would do that if my pan was larger. More circumference means more area for a nice, crispy edge to form. Delicious!)
When the egg around the edges is pretty well cooked, you can check underneath–the cakes should be golden brown and crispy around the edges. Flip them over, and then press them down with the back of your spatula. (This smashes down the loose batter so that both sides are uniform; it took me years to figure out how to do that. Before that, I had one side with a nice, smooth surface, and one that was kind of lumpy and unexciting.)
I like to sprinkle them with a little bit of sea salt. (If you haven’t read this series over on Herbivoracious, you really should.)
You could do all sorts of things to dress them up. Put cilantro in the batter, then serve them with a dollop of salsa, some sour cream, and maybe a sprig of cilantro. (Actually, I may have to try that, next time.) You get the idea. Rice cakes have been my go-to for times when I need food but don’t want to cook for years.