Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pineapple Fried Rice

I love rice. White rice, brown rice, wild rice, black rice…I would have a rice problem if I let myself.  I can see the episode of Intervention now…

This is one of my favorite rice dishes…It combines sweet & spicy, and it makes incredibly delicious leftovers for lunch.  I never let myself make more than 4 cups at a time (unless feeding a crowd), because I’m pretty sure I would eat this, and nothing else but this for a full week.  

For this recipe you need to use cold, leftover long grain white rice (none of that parboiled Minute/instant rice junk).  It needs to be cold, otherwise you will end up with a starchy, gloopy, sticky mess. Normally I would make a 5-6 cup batch of plain white rice on a Sunday evening (Basmati or Jasmine rice) & serve it with Sunday night dinner.  Then I would use 2 cups of that rice for this recipe, and then use the remaining rice for another recipe, or to use as breakfast for the week (leftover rice, warmed up & treated like oatmeal is delicious).

However…sometimes I do dumb, ditzy things.  Like plan this dish as a side dish for dinner, tell my husband I’m making it (who also loves this recipe), and dream all day about the homemade fried rice I’m going to devour for dinner & at lunch the next day…only to realize at 2:00pm while sitting at my desk...”I didn’t make rice.”


Then I remembered something that I saw at the grocery store.  Confession--I laughed when I originally saw it.  Uncle Ben’s now makes warm & serve packets of different varieties of long-grain rice under their product line "Ready Rice."  You know…those things you put in the microwave, pray that the plastic they are cooking in isn’t toxic, warm & dish up?  I remember laughing when seeing those for the first time.  The seasoned rice blends I could kind of understand…especially for those that don’t cook.  But plain basmati or jasmine rice?...who wouldn’t just make their own?

Apparently…these are specially designed for the ditzy-cook-who-has-her-heart-set-on-pineapple-fried-rice-but-forgets-to-make-the-darned-ricecorner of the market.  I’m guessing there are others like me out there.

What is incredibly handy—this recipe calls for approximately 2 cups of rice…and that is approximately how much is in one of the packets of Uncle Ben’s instant rice.  Glorious. I just dumped it straight out of the packet into the pan (no microwaving). 

While it’s not an economical way to dish up dinner compared to cooking the rice from scratch…it saved our dinner last week.  The taste/texture of the rice was ok—but was not as good as precisely cooked basmati in this recipe, but it satisfied the pineapple fried rice craving.

Ok…enough rambling…on to the recipe.  I served this last week with Hawaiian Ribs & sautéed green beans.  Normally when I make this I do not add chopped vegetables to the rice, because I’m normally serving it with vegetables (plus…I hate peas).
My favorite leftovers...

Pineapple Fried Rice
Modified from recipe #28005 on food.com, Cook time: 10 minutes, 4- ½ cup servings

Ingredient lineup...with the dinner-saving rice
  • 1.5 t. olive oil
  • 2 t. garlic, finely minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups leftover white rice (long-grain, not Minute rice)
  • 1-2 green onions, green & white sections, chopped
  • 2 t. soy sauce, your choice (gluten free, low sodium, etc)
  • 1 t. kosher salt (optional)
  • ¾ t. ground white pepper*
  • 6 T. pineapple, chopped or tidbits
  • chopped vegetables- i.e peas or carrots (optional)
  • 3 T. cashews, chopped (optional)

1.  Preheat oil in the bottom of a wok or large skillet.  Add garlic & sauté until it starts to brown.  Add chopped vegetables (optional).  

2.  Put rice into the pan, fold together with oil & garlic.  Add the soy sauce, salt, white pepper & pineapple.  Stir until well mixed. 

3.  Scoot rice over to one side of the pan.  Crack the 2 eggs side-by-side on the empty spot of the pan.  Using a rubber spatula, scramble the eggs until mostly cooked, breaking up any large chunks.  Stir eggs into the rice.  (If you stir the eggs into the rice uncooked…you will end up with a gloopy mess.  If a little rice gets into your eggs while you are scrambling them…that’s not a problem at all).
Crack eggs into the pan
Scramble the eggs.  Don't blend them into the rice yet.
Now it's ready to blend together...
4.  Fold in green onions & cashews…and serve.  
Love it.

*A note on white pepper- (1) You want to use white pepper not black pepper.  It is the “heat” element in this dish.  Black pepper will not taste remotely the same.  (2)If halving the recipe, use ½ teaspoon of white pepper.  If making 3 cups of rice, use 1 t. ground white pepper. 4 cups of rice=1.25 t. white pepper…etc.  White pepper is one of those ingredients that you do not want to truly double.  The heat from the pepper doesn’t double…it quadruples.  Along those lines…if you are cooking for a family that doesn’t like spicy foods—in the recipe above use ½ t. ground white pepper instead of ¾ t.  

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