Audy's Pineapple Fried Rice / by Amy Cantu

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My dad’s fried rice is a potluck legend - it arrives onto the table and not five minutes later, it disappears. It doesn’t matter how much he makes, the Pineapple Fried Rice never makes it back home for leftovers. So, count yourself lucky that he’s finally sharing his recipe here!

Notes: Using a non-stick pan or well-seasoned wok will prevent the rice from sticking to the pan. Otherwise, expect a bit of a crust to form on the bottom of your pan, and be OK with a little soaking and elbow grease. If you don’t have a pan roomy enough for a full batch of fried rice (without worrying about rice and pineapple being flung out) fry the rice in two batches. If you overcrowd the pan, the rice will steam and will not cook properly. Not to mention, you’ll have a big mess around the stove!

My dad likes to serve his Pineapple Fried Rice in a hollowed out pineapple. Slice a whole pineapple in half lengthwise, leaving the leafy top attached to one half. Carefully use a knife to carve out slices of the pineapple to hollow out the pineapple half. You now have a festive bowl for your Pineapple Fried Rice! You will have more pineapple than is needed for the recipe - reserve the extra, chill, and serve as a refreshing dessert or snack for later.

For the rice: Day-old rice is ideal, so that it is a little dry and won’t get mushy during the frying process. About 2 cups of uncooked rice should yield 4 cups of cooked rice. If you don’t have day-old rice, spread freshly cooked rice onto a sheet pan or tray and let cool for 5 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. Don’t try to use rice that’s been cooled to room temperature in a covered bowl (there’s too much moisture), but not been refrigerated for at least 12 hours - you’ll end up with weird, goopy rice. Serious Eats recently had a good article about this. Jasmine rice is the preferred rice for Thai fried rice - it’s a fragrant, medium grain rice that will give this dish an authentic flair. You could also substitute medium grain Chinese rice or Japanese rice, but it won’t be quite the same.

Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4-5

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ onion, diced fine
1 shallot, diced fine
1-2 Thai bird’s eye chilies or serrano chilies, diced fine (optional)
2 plum tomatoes, diced with juices reserved
4 cups cooked Jasmine rice (see note above)
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup red bell pepper, finely diced
1 ½ cups fresh pineapple, small dice
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
2 eggs
¼ cup green onions, sliced
¼ cup cilantro, including stems
⅓ cup cashews, roasted
Sliced cucumber, tomatoes, and limes for garnish (optional)

Heat vegetable oil in a large saute pan or wok over high heat. (If you do not have a large saute pan or wok, divide ingredients in half and make two batches.)

Add shallot and onion to the hot pan and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the chilies and tomato with juices, until saucy and well combined. Add red bell pepper and toss to combine. Add rice and continue to stir and toss for 2 minutes. Add shrimp, continuing to stir for 1 minute.

Make a well into the center of the rice mixture, crack two eggs into the well and scramble lightly. Stir scrambled eggs into rice. Add pineapple, season with fish sauce and salt to taste. Add green onions, cilantro and cashews. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with fresh slices of cucumber and tomatoes on the side. Serve immediately.