Java rice is yellow-orange fried rice that is popular in Filipino restaurants. It gets its vibrant color from annatto and turmeric. It is so simple to make at home using leftover or fresh-cooked rice.
You may also like Adobo Fried Rice, another Filipino favorite.
Java rice and Filipino Barbecue Pork Skewers (or chicken) make the best combination.
What makes a good java rice
As with any good fried rice, java rice shouldn't be mushy or too dry. The flavor should be subtle from aromatics like garlic and shallots. The color should be yellow-orange from turmeric and annatto.
Ingredients you’ll need
Notes and substitutions
- White rice: If you don't have leftover or day-old rice, you can also use fresh-cooked rice as long as it's not overcooked, mushy, or too wet.
- Annatto powder: Also called achiote or "poor man's saffron," it has a very subtle earthy flavor and is used only as a natural food coloring like in Kare-Kare with Beef Shank (in Peanut Sauce) or Chicken Inasal. Annatto seeds can be steeped in hot water to extract their orange-red pigment, or they can be purchased in powder form and sprinkled directly on the dish.
- Turmeric powder: A rhizome belonging to the ginger family, it has bright orange flesh that imparts a vibrant yellow color. Its flavor is earthy, slightly citrusy, and a little peppery. It can be overwhelming and bitter when used in excess.
How to make this recipe
(1)Break up your rice with a fork. If you have a fresh batch, spread them out and let them cool for a few minutes. The key is to let the moisture evaporate, so they don't clump together or get mushy.
(2)Finely chop the garlic, shallot, and red bell pepper. A food processor can help you break them into tiny pieces, adding more flavor to your rice.
Get the rest of the ingredients ready. When the pan heats, this will cook up in a flash.
(3)Over medium heat, add the oil and butter to the wok. Sauté the garlic, shallot, and red bell pepper until softened and slightly caramelized, about a minute.
(4)Add the annatto powder, turmeric powder, and rice. Toss them until they are evenly colored and heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
How to serve
A fried egg with java rice makes it a meal.
Frequently asked questions
Choose a medium or long grain variety. Leftover rice is ideal because the grains can be more easily separated; however, you can also make a fresh batch.
Give them an extra rinse so they don't end up sticky or mushy where the grains break apart. After cooking, spread them out to cool and allow the moisture to evaporate.
Yes, you can use them interchangeably in this recipe. Margarine usually has a milder flavor, but it won't be an issue.
It's not necessary, but if you have one, use it. The advantage of a wok is that you can toss the food around or push it to the sides while the oil drains.
Java rice is much simpler than that, with fewer mix-ins. If you have a large enough skillet or sauté pan, you should be fine.
Watch how I make it here
Other rice recipes you may like
Did you make this recipe? I would love to know! Your feedback helps me make better recipes. Please rate, review, or comment below. Questions about this recipe are welcome, too!
- A wok, a skillet, or a sauté pan
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 shallot minced; sub: yellow or white onion
- ½ red bell pepper minced
- ½ teaspoon annatto powder sub: annatto seeds
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 5 cups cooked white rice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Break up your rice with a fork. If you have a fresh batch, spread them out and let them cool for a few minutes.
- Over medium heat, add the oil and butter to the wok.
- Sauté the garlic, shallot, and red bell pepper until softened and slightly caramelized, about a minute.
- Add the annatto powder, turmeric powder, and rice. Toss them until they are evenly colored and heated through.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.