If like me, you love your food savory, sweet, and just a little bit spicy, then this Thai inspired pineapple fried rice recipe will be right up your alley. Colorful, wholesome, and bursting with caramelized pineapple, this fried rice is a winning combination of light and healthy, but satisfying. Enjoy as a side dish to a stir fry, or pile into a bowl for a deliciously hearty main meal.
The best rice for pineapple fried rice
Unlike sushi rice, pineapple fried rice calls for a non-sticky variety of grain. The consensus is that long grain rice works best, as it fluffs up nicely when cooked, and is lower in starch. Basmati rice can also work, so if you have some leftover from a different meal then feel free to switch it up. Some recipes will suggest using jasmine rice, but in my experience, the texture is too sticky to achieve a fluffy result.
How to prepare fried rice
One of the biggest issues people encounter when they make their own pineapple fried rice is stodgy grains. This method prevents your rice sticking together, meaning the grains are tender, but keep their shape once fried.
Start by cooking your rice using your normal method. I use an instant pot for speed. Once cooked, spread your rice over a cookie sheet or large tray so that you have a super-thin layer. Leave to cool at room temperature for a couple of hours, or overnight if you have time. Place in the fridge if you plan to make fried rice that day. Don’t cover while your grains are still warm, otherwise, the rice will continue to cook from the residual heat. Once cool, you can cover and store until needed.
Best vegetables for pineapple fried rice
This recipe is a great way to disguise vegetables if you’re feeding a fussy eater. Most vegetables work in this dish, but my favorites are red bell pepper, carrots, corn, and peas. I favor red pepper over the other colors because it’s super sweet, and compliments the pineapple. The carrots, corn, and peas came as a frozen vegetable medley and can be swapped out for whatever combination you prefer. Obviously you can also use fresh produce, but be aware this will add a little extra to your prep time.
How to cut pineapple
In my opinion, fresh pineapple works better in fried rice than canned. It tends to be juicier, making it sweeter and more flavorsome when caramelised.
- Begin by removing the top and bottom of the pineapple with a large, sharp knife.
- Remove the skin by sliding your knife from top to bottom, following the natural curve of the pineapple.
- Slice in half lengthways, then place the fruit flat side down on your cutting board.
- Slice in half lengthways again, so that you have four wedge-shaped sections.
- Remove the core, then cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces.
If you only have access to canned pineapple make sure you opt for the “in juice” variety rather than syrup.
How to make Thai pineapple fried rice
Once your rice and pineapple are prepared, you’re ready to start cooking.
- Begin by frying* your tofu over medium heat, until golden brown on all sides. Once cooked remove from heat and set aside.
- Add more oil to the skillet and cook your peppers, pineapple, and garlic for 3 minutes.
- Toss in your frozen vegetables and cook for a further 2-3 minutes
- Crumble rice into pan
- Add sriracha**, soy sauce***, and seasoning, and cook until the rice is heated through.
- Serve with green onions and a sprinkling of cilantro
* I love using coconut oil for this, because it gives the dish a tropical feel. If you prefer a more neutral flavor then you can use canola or vegetable oil in its place.
*** If you want your fried rice to be a little saltier then I recommend adding a dash of salt, rather than extra soy sauce. Too much soy will make your rice darker than the photos, and overpower the rest of the dish.
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