The Difference Between Java Rice and Sinangag

We ordered sinangag rice. She gave us what we asked for but insisted that it was not sinangag. It was java rice.

java sinagag riceHow did this java rice differ from regular sinangag / fried rice? The following explanations were purely based on my experiences and thinking.

Mom was doing this every morning when I was a young kid. Lift off the old rice from the cauldron. Transfer it to a mixing bowl. Occasionally wet the hands with tap water while mashing the old toughened rice. Mashing aimed to separate every cooked rice grain from each other. Wet hands prevents the rice from sticking to skin. Then roasted the rice in pan with very little oil.

That was without any flavoring, even minced garlic and chopped onions. She could sauteed some flattened garlic and sliced onion if she had some time to spare.

If reheating the mashed rice and frying other viand like fish, chicken, pork, beef or hot dogs needed to be done simultaneously. Then, the latter will be done first. The flavor left in oil by the first dish will be used to add flavor to sinangag. The best ever I had eaten was a fried rice cooked in oil where a salt scrubbed fish was cooked. It was simply delectable.

Because my mom’s sons and daughters were persistent complainer, she learned to add some leftover pork, fish and hot dogs. Flavor improved and it became a complete meal (not a balance meal). She also adapted the Instant Sinangag Mix and Maggi Magic Sarap Craze when it came to existence.

Well, maybe, this Java Rice was especially cooked for the purpose. The cook intends to make a complete rice meal from the start and not just salvage any leftover meal. The texture was like a newly cooked rice. The color was an attractive yellow. I felt like getting more after one serving. And, it had the typical taste of Maggi Magic Sarap.


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One Comment

  • Some months back, I researched Indonesian Fried Rice, where I thought the Java rice must have originated from, but it is so different from what Pinoys have come to know as Java Rice. I also looked into Thai fried rice, but there was no close comparison with Filipino-style Java rice.
    To keep the rice grains separate, I learned a trick from the way Mexican rice is prepared which is to first fry the uncooked but washed and drained rice in a little oil before adding the cooking water. Cook it as you would ordinary rice, refrigerate at least half a day, then stir-fry it with minced garlic, finely chopped onions and season with just a little bit of sweet soy sauce (ready made kecap lezat from Indonesia is available here), turmeric powder (for the yellow color) plus salt, to taste; or experiment with the flavors you prefer like maybe Maggi liquid seasoning and a bit of sugar.
    If I remember correctly, it was Max’s Fried Chicken restaurant that originally introduced the Java Rice concept, and so many other restaurants afterwards, have brought out their own versions. I must admit that Java Rice does go very well with pork or chicken Pinoy-style barbecue and green papaya achara, or even with tapa or longganiza.
    There was a restaurant in China town years back where one could order a fried rice dish flavored with dried flaked fish (maybe salted cod?) and it was delicious! A Filipino restaurant here in Cerritos called Salo-Salo now offers Bagoong Fried Rice (bagoong alamang) and Adobo Fried Rice.

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