6 Ways To Use Leftover Rice

In these times of #socialdistancing and lockdown, it is essential to minimize food wastage and use all resources wisely. Let's have a look at how to use leftover rice in 6 different ways.

If there was ever a greater need to minimize food wastage and use all our resources to their optimum potential, it is now. To encourage us all to do this, and in ways that don’t need a whole lot of added effort, we have come up with simple ideas to use staple ingredients differently in your daily meals. Most of you may already have these as part of regular groceries. Through these posts, we hope you get fresh ideas to use your kitchen supplies wisely and in interesting ways.

Rice is a cereal grain that is used vastly in all Indian households in some way or another. Boiled rice is one of the most common and easy ways to cook rice throughout the world. They can be paired with dal, chole, rajma, Punjabi kadi pakora, stews, chicken curries, mutton curries, Thai curries, and even saucy stir-fries. So, if you have a bowlful of them tucked away in the fridge, it’s time to make use of it.

Here are 6 interesting ways to use leftover boiled rice.

1) Rice Cutlets

Kill the evening hunger pangs with a snack made from leftover rice. Leftover boiled rice can be given a wonderful twist if you turn them into cutlets. Mix mashed potatoes, lots of finely chopped vegetables, red chilies, ginger-garlic paste and a cupful of boiled rice to bind it all together. Deep fry them to make tiny cheese-ball kind cutlets. Serve them with green chutney or a tamarind sauce. If you do not want to deep fry them, you can flatten the mix like a tikki and cook them on a non-stick tawa with a little olive oil or ghee.

Cheese lover? Swap the Indian masalas with Italian seasoning to give it a different flavor. Stuff the center of the ball with a small amount of grated mozzarella cheese. Serve the cheesy-rice balls (which are similar to the Italian Arancini) with tomato ketchup.

 6 Ways To Use Leftover Rice
Rice cutlets can be given an Indian or Italian touch by switching the masalas used.

2) Tadka Rice | Fried Rice

Indian tadka rice – The fragrance of a fresh tadka atop some leftover rice is enough to give it a new look and taste. That tadka can comprise of the good old mustard seeds (rai), dry red chilies and curry leaves or can be a simple heeng-jeera tadka. These rice can be eaten with a lip-smacking sambar or any curry of your choice. Add a handful of peanuts and a pinch of turmeric to the curry leaves tadka and convert the bland bowl of leftover rice into lemon rice.

For an oriental style fried rice – lightly sauté all finely chopped vegetables, some beans, carrots, onions, capsicum, chopped ginger, and garlic to make a batch of flavorful fried rice. Drop a whisked egg while cooking the rice if you love egg fried rice, and are not following a vegetarian diet on account of Navratri.

 6 Ways To Use Leftover Rice
Minimize food wastage during the lockdown: Adding tadkas are a good way to spice up your leftovers.

3) Baked Rice

Have some broccoli lying round that is about to turn yellow or a bunch of spinach that is wilting too fast? A quick stir fry of all the vegetables that are quickly nearing the end can be layered with leftover rice, topped with some chunky tomato sauce and baked for 10 minutes. You can add cheese on top to add some oomph to the dish.

You can also make a spinach, corn and white sauce mix. Pour it on a layer of leftover rice, sprinkle some cheese on top and bake till the layer of cheese is melted. This one-casserole dish is sure to be loved by the family. Plus you saved a lot of dying-wilting veggies.

 6 Ways To Use Leftover Rice
The bottom buttery layer of rice and the crisp layer of cheese make an excellent combination.

4) Phirni

Phirni is traditionally made with soaked rice cooked in milk, sugar, khoya and rose essence till the mixture thickens and can be set in clay kasoras. To make leftover rice phirni all you need to do is grind the leftover rice lightly in a mixer and cook it with milk till it thickens. Add sugar, cardamom or any essence you like. Top it with slivered almonds and pistachios and let it cool before placing them in the refrigerator. This will surely uplift the mood of your family members.

 6 Ways To Use Leftover Rice

5) Kheer

Kheer (rice pudding) is one of the most loved Indian desserts. Kheer is traditionally made with soaked rice cooked in milk and sugar with the light fragrance of cardamom and a handful of nuts. So, can cooked rice be used to make kheer? Yes, they can. Even though originally soaked uncooked rice is used to make kheer, to help utilize the leftovers wisely, a thandi-thandi kheer made with leftover rice and some nuts isn’t a bad idea at all. In fact, the outcome is quite delicious.

 6 Ways To Use Leftover Rice
Kheer made with leftover rice is a tasty decision, we tell you!

6) Zarda

Zarda or meethe chaawal are made in most Indian households during festivities or as prasad. Some ghee roasted dry fruits and some saffron-infused water is all it takes to turn your bowl of leftover rice into a fragrant bowl of zarda. Of course, they are not made like this traditionally but as long as our supplies are limited, we say what’s the harm in trying your hand at this too!

 6 Ways To Use Leftover Rice
Image for representational purposes only – Zarda is sweetened rice which is full of dry fruits.

Do you have some more interesting ideas about how to use leftover rice and minimise our food wastage? We would have to read them. Leave a comment in the box below.

Struggling to cook with limited resources? There is a lot in our kitchens even during this lockdown, all we need is a set of fresh ideas and suggestions to keep our menus interesting! Read these posts to help you choose what to cook for the next meal using regular staples like attasujimoong dalrice and potatoes. We will also give you tips on how to use common condiments like mayonnaise and spices like jeera and turmeric in your diet to maximise the usage of everyday products.

About The Author

Nishtha Asrani Sethi, born and brought up in Delhi, is a content writer who has previously worked with NDTV and Resolver. Her roots are deep within the food industry, thanks to her family business and a keen interest in contemporary food products. Nishtha loves to serve her articles with a side of humor. Her Bachelor’s degree in Home Science comes in handy while researching the science behind the food. When she is not trying to win a battle of fries vs fruit with her daughter, she is busy experimenting with her huge joint family with crazy recipes.

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  1. Prachi Jain says

    Oh wow. I always knew how to turn them into a fried rice or a task rice but the baked rice seems amazing. Will surely try.

  2. OMG !!!! It’s like you read the minds of millions ! What an amazing and appropriately timed article. Thank you… I will be trying some of these recipes for sure 🙏🏻

  3. Asha Wadhwa says

    Can we make meethe chawal with leftover rice without making them soggy?

  4. Tried out the fried rice recipe ! Fantastic! And such a good way to make sure one doesn’t waste food. Thank you

  5. I have been meaning to try out desserts from leftover rice. Good one

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