Growing up in Portland, Oregon I had my fair share of great restaurant choices. Among them was a Thai restaurant in the heart of downtown Portland called Arawan, where I tasted pineapple fried rice for the first time. I was blown away!
Of course, there was the initial astonishment as the entree was presented to me. I was so impressed by the way the dish looked, because the pineapple fried rice was presented in the pineapple itself. How clever.
Up until that day, I had eaten fried rice plenty of times from different restaurants, but the flavor of this pineapple fried rice was so impressive, I never forgot the experience! And so the moment arrived that I would attempt to recreate this delicious Thai dish.
If you’ve tried Chinese fried rice and are wondering if Thai fried rice is similar in taste, the answer is yes it is. One of the main differences between Chinese fried rice and Thai fried rice is the sauce that’s used to flavor the dish. In Thailand fish sauce is used in fried rice, whereas in China the rice is flavored with soy sauce.
However the dishes both contain a lot of the same ingredients, for example: rice, eggs, and vegetables. Fried rice is typically prepared in a wok or a frying pan, and often contains meat or seafood.
It was during the Sui Dynasty in China that fried rice was created. It is believed that fried rice originated so that people could reuse leftovers, as it was pretty taboo in China to throw away food.
Pineapple fried rice is believed to have originated in central Thailand. Today, it is a common dish in Thailand, typically served right in the husk of the pineapple itself, just as it was in the restaurant I ate at. The dish is super popular at buffets and during parties.
Now you can make this impressive dish that is restaurant worthy right in your own home, by following this simple recipe!
What You Need:
1 pineapple (halved and inside carved out and chopped)
2 packets Uncle Ben’s basmati rice (or other white rice)
1 lb chicken thighs (cubed)
2 tbsp oil
2 eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup cashews
1 red bell pepper (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped or grated)
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 garlic cloves (diced)
1/4 cup green onion (chopped)
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp Sriracha or chili sauce
Cilantro (chopped) for garnish
Many authentic fried rice recipes call for one day old rice. That’s because the leftover rice is less likely to clump up than freshly cooked rice is. I like to simplify this even further by using Uncle Ben’s cooked basmati rice. You open the packet slightly to vent, and microwave the rice for 90 seconds.￼
I recommend preparing all your ingredients ahead of time, as it will make cooking so much easier. Also, one ingredient goes in after the other, so it’s great having everything chopped and ready, on hand.
Heat oil in a wok add the whisked eggs. The eggs should be cooked first, as to avoid any browning from the meat and veggies to stick. Gently fold over egg as it cooks, and once cooked remove from wok.
Slice the pineapple in half, leaving the stem attached. Scoop out the pineapple and cut into chunks. Put aside in a bowl, and don’t forget about the pineapple juice!
Add cubed chicken to the wok and brown, cook thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Now add the garlic, red bell pepper, peas, carrots, pineapple chunks and juice and stir to combine ingredients. Simmer.
Stir in rice, fish sauce, chili sauce or sriracha sauce, eggs, and cashews. Stir to combine all ingredients, cover and cook on low just to marry flavors together. Add chopped green onions.
Scoop the chicken pineapple fried rice right into the pineapple husk, and garnish with cilantro. You’ll likely have more fried rice than fits into the pineapple husk; amazing leftovers.
Now when I made this dish, my dad tried the fried rice straight out of the pineapple husk, and the fried rice that was leftover in a separate bowl. He said that the fried rice in the pineapple husks had an entirely different flavor, one that was more sweet and delicious.
You can add shrimp in place of the chicken, if you prefer. Shrimp will cook a lot faster, but every other step would be the same.
Please give this chicken pineapple fried rice recipe a try, and impress your family and friends with the beautiful presentation and delicious taste!