For years I’ve snubbed all savory dishes that include pineapple, thinking that they were solely tourist fare. But apparently the joke’s on me, because pineapple fried rice, when done right, is a revelation.
The trick, of course, is to balance out the sweetness to ensure that it doesn’t taste like a dessert gone terribly wrong. In this particular dish, the fish sauce and oyster sauce add saltiness and a bit of umami, Sriracha adds some heat, and the white pepper adds a bit of pungency (don’t leave it out! ). Meanwhile the cilantro adds a much-needed pop of freshness while the cashews add plenty of crunch. I went from totally eschewing pineapple dishes to making this fried rice three times in one week. So yeah, quite a 180.
While this pineapple fried rice makes an excellent side dish, it also transforms into one heck of a one-dish meal with the addition of some protein. Seafood like crab and shrimp are commonly paired with pineapple fried rice as is chicken.
But if you live in Hawaii, do me a favor and try adding some fried, diced Portuguese sausage. It’s a heavenly Thai-Hawaiian fried rice mix up that would give Side Street Inn’s fried rice a run for its money. Unfortunately I don’t think Hawaiian-style Portuguese sausage is available on the mainland (it’s not the same as traditional linguiça or chouriço), but you could always try to order it online or even make it yourself. It’d be worth the effort.
Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
Yield: 4-6 servings
* 1/4 cup oil, divided
* 1 egg, lightly beaten
* 1 small yellow onion, diced
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
* 4 cups day-old, leftover rice (make sure there aren't any large clumps)
* 1 Tablespoon sweet chile sauce (like Mae Ploy)
* 1 Tablespoon Sriracha
* 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
* 2 Tablespoons gluten-free oyster sauce
* 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
* 1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple (can substitute well drained canned pineapple)
* 3/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
* 3/4 cup roughly chopped toasted cashews
In a wok or large skillet, heat 2 Tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the egg, let it cook without stirring until almost set, and then scramble until just cooked through. Remove the egg from the wok or skillet and set aside.
Add the remaining oil, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to turn golden. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until the garlic begins to soften. Add the rice, sweet chile sauce, Sriracha, fish sauce, oyster sauce and white pepper. Stir well to thoroughly combine and then cook, stirring every minute or so, until the rice is heated through and some of the grains have got a nice golden char.
Add the pineapple, the cooked egg, and the cilantro and cook, stirring frequently, until the pineapple is heated through. Garnish with the chopped cashews and serve immediately.
Adapted from Easy Thai Cooking by Robert Danhi