I’ve been thinking a lot about how I save money using rice over the last couple of weeks because of a recent family situation.
Recently my sister got into a spot of trouble. Her husband lost his job through downsizing. This would have been tough enough, but the house in which they lived came with the job. Out of desperation, they accepted an invitation from my niece’s boyfriend to move in. A few days after moving in, the couple broke up. It was a few months of hell that she had to endure before they could find another place.
She finally found a place to move just a few weeks ago and with the help of the family, she was able to move in.
The first thing I did was to send her a rice cooker. Why did I do that?
We all have bad situations that happen to us, but I’ve found that having more money gives you more options. Over the years I’ve slowly gotten better about spending less and saving more. Rice has played a very big part of that.
Of course, for me, marrying into a rice farming family had a lot to do with it. Although I do live in Thailand now, the times when rice played a big part in saving money for our family of 4 was about 10 years ago in Wisconsin.
Once we had rice in the house, and a few sauces, we could live on a few dollars a day for meals.
How does eating rice save money?
Rice is cheap. By making rice as part of the main meal you use less meat.
Less meat, less spent.
The trick here is to stop thinking of rice as a side dish but as part of the main meal.
If you use a sauce or some meat with a liquid, the rice takes on the flavor of whatever you put on it. This also works well for veggie dishes as well. In fact, if you use more vegetables, you can use less or no meat, further saving you money.
Uncooked rice also stores incredibly well with no refrigeration. It won’t go bad on the shelf for many years. There are some claims that with plastic storage containers it can last 30 years, but I can not say for sure. I do know I’ve never kept it around long enough to go bad.
Cooked rice is a different story, but you can refrigerate it or freeze it if you’ve made too much.
Won’t eating rice make me feel poor?
Do you feel poor going to a Chinese buffet or a Thai restaurant? Have you seen the prices at some of these places?
No, what you are doing is making fancy food at home, and rice is just what goes with it!
Won’t I get bored of rice?
I eat rice just about every day. I haven’t gotten bored with it, because what I place on top of the rice changes from meal to meal.
Consider this. Did the pastry you have at breakfast make the bread on your sandwich at lunch boring?
Do you get bored of potatoes, if you have fries one day, mash potatoes the next, and baked potatoes later in the week?
Of course not, because they all taste very different.
Pick a good rice
Where I live now, there is not a bread aisle in the supermarket. There is, however, a rice aisle.
There are many varieties of rice, and if you are used to the Uncle Ben’s or Minute Rice, you are missing out.
The most popular type of rice that the farmers here eat and grow is Jasmine Rice.
Whenever my wife made Thai food for our friends in the states, this rice never failed to satisfy!
You can find it at almost every major supermarket or Walmart. My mother found it at Kroger’s to send it to my sister to use in her new rice cooker. You can also find it on Amazon. Twenty pounds of rice used to last our family of 4 about 2 months, so 2 lbs should last a few weeks.
Buy a rice cooker
How to cook rice in a rice cooker
- Put equal amounts of rice and water in the cooker
- Press the on button
While you can put rice in a pot and cook directly on the stovetop, a rice cooker just makes life easier. I recommend starting it about 30 minutes before you plan on eating. If you use Jasmine rice, this will bring a fragrant smell to your kitchen.
Here is the one I sent my sister.
Update-So, as soon as I published this post, I went to FaceBook to share it, and I got this message from my sister
Rice will only save you money if you enjoy it. The rice is only as good as the food you mix with it.
The internet is full of Asian recipes and ideas. Here are just a few.
My wife told my sister to cut some garlic and fry it in a tiny bit of oil. When the garlic turns yellow, add the chicken. When the chicken is about halfway cooked add some soy sauce. It takes about 10 minutes.
This is a staple Thai dish that is easy to make with chicken, shrimp, pork or tofu.
The shape is formed by putting the rice in a bowl and placing a plate on top and flipping it. Recipe here.
Fun fact – There is a dish that was created for American soldiers when they took leave in Thailand called American fried rice, which is like the picture below but topped with an egg, and served with a side of a chicken drumstick and a hot dog!
This is a great dish, which I’ve gotten used to making for myself. You can make it spicy or not depending on your taste. It is quick and easy to make.
You can find a recipe here, but feel free to mix up the ingredients. I like to add some onions and Asian eggplant or red peppers, It is easy to put in what you like and leave out what you don’t like or have trouble finding.
Omelet Over Rice
Quick and cheap to make! Heat up a tiny bit of oil while stirring up an egg in a bowl. Throw in the egg and cook for about 2 minutes, and drape it over the rice!