One of my first blog posts was Thai Pineapple Fried Rice. It’s one of my favorite dishes and pretty easy to make. It’s going to be the first post to be revisited! Originally I didn’t take pictures as I made it and that has always bothered me. It’s a fun and colorful dish and needs to have its own fashion show here.
The only thing that is even slightly difficult is that you need to remember to make your rice way ahead of time. Preferably the previous day, so that it is thoroughly chilled when you’re ready to make your fried rice. I spent a lot of years fretting over fried rice that was frankly, bad. I hadn’t bothered to read a recipe that told me to chill the rice! It makes a HUGE difference in the final product.
The rice properly chilled, the rest is simple chopping and frying. I julienned a sweet red pepper; you could use any color but I avoid green because it is more bitter. I chopped up ½ a medium onion for this recipe, but sometimes I use a ½ cup of chopped green onions or scallions instead. It’s more colorful, but the onion flavor is good either way.
I heat a large nonstick skillet with a little oil over medium high heat. I friend the red peppers and onions a couple of minutes just to take the crunch out. They will be cooking more as I add thing and I don’t want them mushy in the final dish.
I put the green chilies and frozen peas into the skillet and fry them another 2 minutes to remove the frost and just thaw them. I use half the can, you could use the whole can for extra heat and flavor.
Next I push the veggies aside and scramble the eggs to the side, breaking them into small pieces when they are done and stirring them into the veggies. If you’re not comfortable doing them that way, you could fry them separately in a small pan and add them to the large pan. I’ve done it both ways but prefer to have less things to wash after dinner.
The seasonings, sugar, broth, and fish sauce go in next. I use whatever broth I have on hand, it’s not going to be that noticeable. Stir until the spices are mixed in well
Stir in the pork (you could use chicken or shrimp as well) and let it fry until it is heated through, 3-4 minutes. It’s already been cooked once, we just need to reheat it now. While that is heating I prepare the rice.
Chilled rice isn’t always eager to fall apart in smaller pieces. The trick I learned from somewhere was to add a tablespoon of oil to the rice in a bowl then use my hand to work the oil through the rice, separating it into kernels between my fingers. At first I thought that was kind of icky, but when I was so thrilled with the results, I now enjoy “oiling the rice”, as I call it in my mind. It saves major stress in trying to get it all apart, and you don’t end up with pockets of white rice in your fried rice.
The rice goes into the skillet next, and I stir to make sure it is all evenly integrated. When the rice is heated through I do a taste test and add more soy sauce if I think it needs more salt.
Next I add the pineapple. Unusual for me but I didn’t have chunk pineapple on hand. I simply substituted crushed pineapple I’d drained well. I only used ½ cup as it would be more integrated because of the smaller pieces. It worked great, I must remember that trick. Ideally I like to use fresh pineapple, but I didn’t have that on hand either.
Last, I stir in my cashews. The recipe calls for them to be roasted, by which I think they meant dry roasted. I toss them from the can, fold them into the rice, and serve dinner.
We love curry in most anything, and having it in rice with so many other veggies is one of our new comfort foods. I’ve made it with chicken, shrimp and pork. I think traditionally it is served with either chicken or pork AND shrimp, so there are two proteins in the rice. My P.S. won’t eat shrimp so if I want shrimp in it I separate the final rice between two pans and add shrimp to mine. Or even easier, fry the shrimp in a little butter for a minute or two in a separate smaller pan and stir it into my portion of fried rice.
The fried rice isn’t very spicy, in spite of the green chilies. You could add the whole can for more flavor yet, and toss in a good pinch of red pepper flakes when you add the other seasonings. It’s super when it’s spicy, too!
Thai Pineapple Pork Fried Rice
1 sweet red pepper; julienned
½ medium onion; diced
1 cup frozen peas
½ small can chopped green chilies
2 eggs; beaten
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
½ cup beef or chicken broth
½ teaspoon fish sauce
2 cups leftover pork; cubed (can substitute chicken or shrimp)
1 cup cubed pineapple; drained (I used crushed)
8 cups white rice; cooked and cold (not Minute Rice)
½ cup cashews
½ cup raisins (optional) (I didn’t use)
Fresh cilantro (optional)
Heat large skillet to medium high heat, add ¼ cup oil.
Fry red peppers and onions for 2-3 minutes just until they lose their crunch. Add frozen peas and cook another 2-3 minutes until they are just thawed.
Push veggies aside and scramble eggs, breaking into small pieces. Toss together with veggies when cooked.
Add seasonings, sugar, broth and fish sauce, stirring together well. Stir in pork and cook 2-3 minutes until it is heated through.
Stir in pineapple and green chilies, fry 2 minutes more.
Put rice into a bowl or container with 1 tablespoon oil. Using your fingers, work the oil into the rice, separating the kernels. When rice is all separated, add to the skillet, stirring well.
Fry 2-3 minutes until rice is heated through. Taste test and add more soy sauce if desired. Toss in cashews, stir and serve.
Serve with chopped fresh cilantro (optional)