Of all the foods we used to waste in my house, rice was Culprit #1.
Lots of it gets stuck on the bottom of the pan or the rice cooker. After you eat the part that’s still good, the leftover rice gets hard and dry pretty much the second you put it in the refrigerator. Rice can stay on your counter covered for one day before it starts to get slimy.
To save the hard rice at the bottom: In Asian cultures, this is their favorite part of the rice. Kids actually fight over who gets to eat it. I’m not a fan.
Instead, I stir the rice the second it’s done, then put to lid back on and let it keep steaming for a while. (I've taken the rice off the heat at this point, but it's still steamy inside.)
If the rice is already too stuck for me to scrap it off the bottom, I add a tablespoon or two of water when it's still warm and cover for a few minutes. This usually loosens it up.
To save old rice: There are two ways you can refresh rice that's gone hard in the fridge. You can really only do each method once before the rice starts to fall apart, though:
Re-steam. Assuming your rice is in a Tupperware container in the fridge, open the lid and pour in maybe two or three tablespoons of water and place the lid back on top. Don’t seal the lid completely; I’ve actually burst a hole through a Tupperware lid doing this.
Put it in the microwave for two minutes – this heats up the water – and then let the rice sit in the microwave for about five minutes so it soaks up all the steam. Take it out and fluff it with a fork (rice always needs to be fluffed).
There shouldn’t be any excess water, but if there is, drain it out. If the rice is too soft or it’s a little mushy, leave the lid off and let the steam evaporate until the rice is a better texture.
Once you master this technique, the rice coming out of the microwave will taste just as great as when it came out of the pot.
The second option:
Fry. Heat some oil in a pan and stir the rice around until it’s soft again. Boom, done.
Since you're already at the stove frying rice, you can always add soy sauce, scrambled eggs, peas and carrots, and meat, if you want. Now you have a whole balanced meal.