Seafood Java Fried Rice

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A Busy Mom Savior: My Go-To Seafood Java Fried Rice Recipe

As moms who multitask more than the average octopus, we’re always on the hunt for hassle-free, home-cooked meals our families will savor. When dinnertime dread sets in, I’ve found a few secret seasoning shortcuts sure to satisfy even the pickiest palates. Namely, easy fried rice recipes! This java fried rice recipe is almost like a one-pot meal and doesn’t need to pair with any ulam recipes.

Today I’m sharing a Pinoy Java fried rice special perfect to please both seafood fanatics and rice royals alike. While preparing Pinoy Java fried rice may seem an intimidating idea, I promise it’s surprisingly simple to simmer up—especially with my easy tips and tricks to transform this leftover rice into a stress-free supper success.

Pinoy Java rice derives its rich, robust flavor from annatto seeds, giving the grains a golden glow reminiscent of Marinduque sunrises. Annatto also adds an undercurrent of a sweet scent and subtle peppery and nutty taste that beautifully balances salty seafood toppings. The traditional rice is then fried and layered with a savory mix of sweet mussels, plump shrimp, tender fish fillets, and soft calamari—a veritable variety of the freshest catches.

You’ll probably find that there are other Java Fried Rice recipes and this one is a specifically Pinoy recipe with only the barest hint of its more original Indonesian cousin. Here in the Philippines, we have our own unique version of this delicious yellow rice. What sets Filipino Java Rice apart is the special seasonings we use that really makes it sing.

How to Make Seafood Java Fried Rice

If you have access to annato trees (like I do), just get a fruit and soak the seeds in a bit of hot oil for a few minutes and viola! Maximum color and taste with minimal effort come cooking time. Simply place a tablespoon of seeds in a cup of warm oil and let sit covered. In just under 10 minutes, you’ll have instant “java” essence at your fingertips to infuse into the rice for phenomenal flavor. If you don’t have access to the seeds, well, worry not. There’s a lot of powdered annatto available in most grocery stores!

Meanwhile, prep all proteins beforehand so seafood simply needs searing before serving. You can prepare them ahead on a microwave as mussels, clams or oysters on the half shell require zero prep and are steaming in minutes flat. If you don’t have a microwave, I do a quick stir on a hot pan and allow them to release their juices an stir them on high heat. You can also marinate fish or shrimp overnight for maximum moisture (or not, I just throw them on the pan along with the other seafoods. Sear shrimp, mussels and fish just until opaque and tender. Toss calamari in, then pan fry until cooked. Shuck oysters, clams or mussels. Sometimes I also use this method to clean up the refrigerator of any leftover seafood and just put them together.

When it’s time to cook the fried rice, take the leftover rice from the refrigerator and loosen them up -breaking apart the grains. I dip my hands in warm water if the rice is too cold.

For an extra fruity/sweet/spicy twist, add some crispy bell peppers and white onion to the fried rice. This is not canon but I also love stirring in an egg to keep everything combined. To finish it off and really amp up the flavors, I’ll mix in a tbsp of oyster sauce and toasted sesame oil. Yum!

Once fluffy and fragrant, add the cooked seafood to the rice and cook on high heat while mixing continuously for an extra rich, smokey flavor. Transfer java rice to a serving platter.

The best part is this fried rice reheats beautifully for lunches throughout the week. It’s my go-to dish for busy nights when I don’t want to cook but still want a healthy meal. Plus my kids gobble it up too.

Served family style, Pinoy Java rice is sure to delight diners of all ages with its complexity of flavors and variety of toppings. Best of all, prep is a procrastinator’s pleasure with most elements made well ahead of time. So relax – this rice recipe is the soothing supper solution to beat those back-to-school blues. I hope you guys give it a try and let me know how it goes. Enjoy!

As always, be sure to sign up for my mailing list below to receive weekly relaxed recipes and useful parenting pointers straight to your inbox. Wishing you many more peaceful pasta nights and low-stress lasagna lunches to come!

See you at the table,

P.S. What’s your favorite way to simplify seafood suppers? Share in the comments for a chance to be featured in my next blog!

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