Hawaii is a land of vibrant colors.
The greens of our beautiful forests and the pleasant wind of the ocean surrounding us are two things that I sorely miss.
More than that though, I miss our amazing Sunday family meals. Before going to bed, I’d turn off my alarm and wait for the aroma of my Grandma’s Pineapple Fried Rice to wake me up from slumber. It had a punch of color, too.
It’s been several years since those days, and now that I have grown up I still make it at times when I feel like I want to relive those moments again.
I made pineapple fried rice for my family recently and they loved it. In fact, it’s one of the few Hawaiian delicacies that my husband really likes (ahi poke being another). It’s surprisingly easy to make and great for times when I am tired or just want to make a quick dinner. It’s also a great way for me to feed my children healthy vegetables minus the fuss. My grandma would be proud!
Pineapple Fried Rice has the all the traditional elements of regular fried rice but it comes with a twist of Hawaiian flavor and texture. Your taste buds will adore its nutty aroma, the crunch of fresh vegetables and the lovely contrast the sweet juicy pineapples bring into the mix. I no longer follow an exact recipe, just chop and dice what I have in my house, left over, or in the freezer then add them to the rice. I did look up a recipe (below) that is very close to how my grandma prepared it, so you can get a feel for how it’s made. Feel free to put your on spin on it, I have added frozen peas…add more or less pineapple. My kids like it sweet.
Now, onto the dish itself.
To get the exact texture of original Hawaiian fried rice, you need to use leftover rice. If you don’t have any, refrigerate rice in an air tight container for 7 to 8 hours.
A fresh pineapple will show a little bit of green when purchased in the store or farmers market. The fruit will turn more yellow as it ripens. To see if one is ripe and ready to eat, pull on the green center leaves on top. When the long green leaf pulls out easily it is ready to enjoy. Also, if you don’t have fresh pineapples, you may use canned pineapples but you will have to drain it before using.
3 tsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp Sesame oil (lightly toasted)
1 tbsp Vegetable oil (canola or peanut preferred)
1 tsp Hot sauce
2 cups Ham (cooked and chopped)
1 Red bell pepper (stemmed, seeded and chopped)
6 Scallions (chopped)
3 Garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 tbsp Ginger (minced)
5 cups Rice (cooked and refrigerated)
2 cups Pineapple (chopped)
Take a large non stick pan and add 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Heat the oil on medium high flame for 3 to 4 minutes. Next, stir in the sliced ham, red bell pepper, and chopped scallions (only the white portions). Let it simmer while stirring occasionally for 5 to 7 minutes or until the bell pepper turns tender or golden brown in color. When that’s done, add minced garlic and ginger and let it cook for another minute.
In a clean non stick pan (or the same pan if you prefer), add 1 tsp of vegetable oil and cold rice. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes. Stir the rice constantly and make sure to break up the lumps in the process. When done, set aside the rice and add 1 tsp of vegetable oil and add eggs to it. With a spatula scramble the eggs until completely set and done.
Now, mix the scrambled eggs, fried ham and bell peppers with the rice. Stir until it’s finely mixed. Next, in a bowl, mix soya sauce, sesame oil and hot sauce. Pour this mixture over the fried rice and stir it over medium flame until it’s fully combined.
Serve the rice hot, topping it off with chopped pineapples and green scallions.
Recipe adapted from http://www.melskitchencafe.com/hawaiian-fried-rice/