Just as “coffee is life” is a motto that some people live by, my motto is “fried rice is life.” Honestly, where would I be without it? Carbs, fat, vegetables, spice—fried rice has it all! It’s one of the main reasons why I can’t ever see myself committing to a paleo or low-carb lifestyle. I don’t have the will power to give up the fried good stuff!
I’ve shared quite a few fried rice recipes here already (see my kimchi, coconut and shrimp, and turmeric and shallots versions). Trying to pick my favorite recipe is like asking a mother to pick their favorite child—they’re all equally loved.
Several weeks ago, my friends and I got together for dinner at a Thai restaurant. One of them ordered pineapple fried rice, and what I loved most about it was the spices, particularly the turmeric. Usually, when I order pineapple fried rice at a restaurant, it’s just a soy sauce fried rice tossed with a few pineapple cubes. But the one my friend got in front of her had a beautiful, mesmerizing golden hue. And, of course, it inspired me to create a version at home.
The main spices are turmeric, coriander and a bit of soy sauce. I’ve made this a few times for my in-laws and they give it their thumbs up!
COOKING NOTES FOR PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE
USING DAY-OLD RICE
Traditionally, fried rice was a dish that people cooked to repurpose leftover rice from the night before. That’s why most fried rice recipes call for day-old rice. If you don’t have leftover rice on hand, cook a big batch of rice (about 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups of rice) and spread it over plates or a large baking sheet to cool. Let the rice dry out for an hour or two. Freshly cooked rice has too much moisture, so it’s not ideal for fried rice.
HOW TO PICK FRESH PINEAPPLE
If you are using fresh pineapple, you want to use one that is golden on the outside. If you use one that has a lot of green color in the outer skin, it means that the pineapple isn’t ripe enough and the fruit will have a sour taste. I usually leave pineapples on my counter for at least a few days for the fruit to ripen. If the bottom of the pineapple starts getting moldy, don’t worry. The fruit usually won’t be rotten on the inside. If you see some discolored bits in the pineapple (parts that look brown and not golden), just chop it away. The rest of the pineapple is still fine to eat.
KITCHEN TIP: HOW TO CUT A PINEAPPLE
Pineapple Fried Rice
- 3 tablespoons safflower oil, divided (any high-heat oil works, too)
- 3 large eggs, whisked
- 1 cup diced yellow onions, about 1/2 large onion
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 large red pepper, diced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup frozen peas, (70g)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 6 cups cooked jasmine rice
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, (see note 1)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper, optional
- 1 1/4 cups diced pineapple
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 3 tablespoons chopped basil
- Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a wok or large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the whisked eggs and scramble it with a spatula. Continue scrambling until eggs are cooked, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer eggs to a plate and set aside. If the wok or pan is dirty, wipe it down with paper towels.
- Heat remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook until the onions start to soften, about 2 minutes. Mix in the red pepper, carrots and peas and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the turmeric and coriander and stir until the vegetables are coated with the spices. Add the rice and mix well with the vegetables. Continue cooking and stirring the rice for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- In a small bowl, quickly mix the soy sauce (or tamari) with the brown sugar and pour that sauce over the rice. Add the white pepper, if using, and stir until well incorporated.
- Add the eggs, pineapple and sliced scallions to the rice and stir to distribute. Turn off the heat and mix in the chopped basil. Serve immediately.
- I added brown sugar to the recipe to balance out the turmeric and soy sauce with the pineapple. If you would rather not add any additional sugar to the fried rice, feel free to leave it out.
- Substitutions: If you have curry powder on hand, you can use that to replace the turmeric.