Pineapple Fried Rice

Right now, I’m lounging on the beach, toes gleefully wiggling in the sun-warmed sand. Sigh. No, I’m not.

You’re not, either? Well, then, let’s get our carbs on with this dish of tropical deliciousness.

Fried rice doesn’t usually elicit oohs and ahhs, but serve it in a pineapple boat, and its impressiveness increases tenfold. I first made this in Bangkok at a private in-home cooking class. If you find yourself in Thailand (lucky!), I’d recommend a class with Angsana. Some of the best Thai food I’ve ever eaten was at that kitchen table.

The rice tastes amazing with pork floss sprinkled on top. Unfortunately, the latter is loaded with umami-dense-but-not-great-for-you MSG, so I’ve had to put a pause on that practice. What a tease; sorry!

Pineapple Fried Rice (adapted from Thai Home Cooking)

1/2 fresh pineapple or 1 cup canned pineapple chunks
1 tablespoon oil
8-10 shrimp, peeled and deveined (approximately 130 grams)
1 tablespoon butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cups day old rice, preferably Jasmine
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup cashews
2 green onions, sliced
cilantro for garnish

If you’re using a fresh pineapple, cut it in half and carve out the flesh from one half. Reserve the shell. Cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, then add the oil. Stir-fry shrimp until half-cooked, about two minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add butter to the skillet. When melted, add the garlic and curry powder. Stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the carrots and onions, cooking until the onions are translucent. Add the rice, breaking up any clumps, about two minutes. Add the cooked shrimp, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, pineapple, and raisins, stirring until shrimp is fully cooked. Season to taste with pepper and additional fish sauce.

Remove from heat and stir in the cashews and green onions. Transfer the rice to the pineapple shell and garnish with cilantro.