Egg, peas, and carrots? Of course. Diced up Spam? Throw it in the wok! Oh, there's leftover adobo, you say? FRIED RICE.
From simple garlic to the more complex kimchi, my mom can make fried rice out of anything. This is why, whenever I find myself griping about how there's not much left in my pantry or refrigerator, I must remember...whatever it is, it can always be turned into fried rice. This has saved me many a late night...got home late, starving, exhausted...It's a quick-fix, complete meal in a bowl.
Fried rice is a well-known Asian dish, seen in but not limited to Chinese, Thai, and Filipino cuisine. It can be put together almost instantly, and it's a perfect method for using up leftovers. Of all the different versions in the world, Pineapple Fried Rice is definitely in my top 5. (Yes, you can have a Top 5 Fried Rice List.) It's got sweet, salty, and spice...a combination that never fails to wake up the taste buds.
Shrimp pairs well with the pineapple because of its natural sweetness, and that tangy-ness from the pineapple also pairs well with seafood. You want the shrimp completely peeled and deveined.
Now that we've got our "proteins" and vegetables, all we need are the eggs, rice (leftover/day-old...this is the drill), and aromatics trifecta...onions, garlic, and ginger.
To start the fried rice, scramble the eggs in a little bit of vegetable or canola oil. Then, remove the eggs from the wok and set aside for later.
Add the garlic and ginger, then continue to stir-fry until aromatic. Be sure to avoid over-browning the garlic.
Next, add the shrimp. Cook for a few more minutes until the shrimp begins to turn pink and opaque, continuing to stir/flip everything around with a spatula. (Wide-set wok spatulas are very handy when dealing with this large amount of food!) This is also a good time to lightly season everything in the wok with a pinch of salt and pepper.
To add a bit more Thai flare, I like to whisk 1/2 of a tablespoon of yellow curry paste into the soy sauce before adding it. The curry paste adds great color and spice. Pour this mixture right over the top. Then, mix again to make sure all of the ingredients are incorporated. Taste the rice at this point, and season with more salt and pepper as needed.
For garnish, simply serve the Pineapple Fried Rice with cilantro, slices of tomato and cucumber, and some sriracha! (This hot sauce is basically a requirement in my house.) The fresh cucumber and tomato really help to cool off your mouth from all of the sweet, salty, and spicy.
So, when you can't decide what to have for dinner, remember the good ol' bowl of fried rice! Keep this recipe in mind to liven up those tough weeknights, or even for when you and the family just don't feel like getting takeout. Enjoy! :)
Pineapple Fried Rice (serves 6)
1 tbsp + 2 tbsps Vegetable or Canola oil, divided
2 large Eggs
1 cup Diced Onion
2 cups Sliced Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms (about 3 oz)
1 tbsp Minced Garlic
1 tbsp Minced Ginger
1 lb Medium-Size Shrimp (26/31 ct), peeled & deveined
2/3 cup Diced Carrots
2/3 cup Green Peas
2/3 cup Golden Raisins (*Or Dried Currants)
2 1/2 cups Diced Pineapple (about 1/2 of a fresh pineapple)
6 cups Cooked Rice, cooled
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1/2 tbsp Thai Yellow Curry Paste
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Fresh Cilantro, for garnish
Sliced Tomatoes & Cucumber, for garnish
- Heat the wok and 1 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Scramble the eggs in the wok, remove from the pan, then set aside.
- Reheat the wok with the remaining 2 tbsp of oil over high heat. Once the oil begins to smoke, add the onions and mushrooms. Stir-fry until the vegetables caramelize slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, then continue to stir-fry until the mixture is aromatic. (Do not over-brown the garlic.) Next, add the shrimp. Cook for a few minutes, until the shrimp begins to turn pink and opaque. At this point, lightly season the shrimp and vegetables with a pinch each of salt & pepper.
- Add the carrots, green peas, raisins, and pineapple. Stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes, until the raisins have softened slightly and the carrots are tender. (Do not over cook the pineapple.)
- Lastly, add the rice and the scrambled eggs. Mix to combine all of the ingredients well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the soy sauce and curry paste. Then, pour the mixture over the fried rice. Again, mix to evenly incorporate all of the ingredients. Taste and add salt & pepper as needed.
- Serve on a large platter or in individual bowls. Garnish with fresh cilantro and slices of tomatoes and/or cucumber. Enjoy!