Of all the vegetable fried rice dishes I have sampled over the years in the US and abroad, pineapple fried rice has to be one of my absolute favorite. I have had it in Thai, Malaysian, and Indonesian restaurants. It is totally different from Chinese fried rice. It has a beautiful golden color, an almost creamy side to it (but not sticky like risotto), just the right balance of sweet and spicy! It combines the best flavors of South East Asia in a bowl. Yellow curry, coconut milk, cashews, pineapple…
Traditional pineapple fried rice is often served in a half pineapple carved into a bowl. It not only looks fancy, but it has the perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness! It is usually comes with shrimp, eggs, and fish sauce. You can use white mushrooms or crispy tofu to add protein and texture. For the touch of yellow you can always add some fresh or frozen corn. You could also use some Just Egg to make a thin omelet and add to the fried rice but it isn’t necessary if you have corn.
Pineapple fried rice is quite colorful. Red peppers, carrots, green beans, peas, and corn are a wonderful combination over the golden rice! Another reason why it is one of our favorites is because it has crunchy cashew nuts, and coconut milk (but not in the sauce), two sources of good fat. A touch of sweetness comes from the pineapple and raisin. It is best to use fresh pineapple but if you can’t find some, you can substitute canned pineapple. It will result in a slightly sweeter dish though.
For the aromatics, you just need a nice fragrant yellow curry powder, some soy sauce, garlic, ginger, a little sweetener, and white pepper. A quick sniff will tell you if your powder is up to snuff! Since yellow curry is the star of the show, you want it fragrant not dull.
Which type of rice is best ?
If you are preparing Indian food, Basmati is your best choice. If you are making a Thai dish, then Jasmine rice is your go-to.
Most fried rice reuse day old rice that has dried up a little so that it can better soak in the seasonings. For pineapple fried rice, you can make regular jasmine rice but it is so much better to make coconut rice! It is creamier and the flavor is out of this world! All you need to do is replace half of the water with a can of coconut milk (full fat). Add a little sugar and salt.
Always toast the cashews to bring out their flavor and crisp them.
Make sure to simmer the diced onion, carrots, green beans, pepper in the curry spices long enough to soften them before adding the rice and remaining ingredients.
Only add the pineapple chunks, raisin and tomato at the end.
Make sure to taste and season before serving. Add a little more pineapple juice if you like it on the sweeter side.
Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
- 2 cups jasmine rice
- 1.5 cup water
- 1 can coconut milk (full fat)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp yellow curry powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1-2 tbsp pineapple juice
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil (peanut, avocado or coconut)
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1 red pepper diced
- 1 medium carrot peeled and thinly sliced
- 8 green beans cut in half
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 1-2 cups diced pineapple
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup chopped green onion
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Prepare the coconut rice
- Rinse 2 cups of jasmine rice until the water is clear.
- Heat up 1.5 cups of water with 1 can of coconut milk, 1 tsp of sugar, and 1 tsp of salt in a pan.
- Bring to a boil and simmer covered for minutes. Uncover and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Fluff with a fork and set aside.
Toast the cashews
- Pour 1 cup of raw cashews in a frying pan and heat up until they start to release a nutty aroma.
- Remove from pan and set aside.
Putting it together
- Prepare the vegetables: Thinly slice the carrot. Dice the red pepper (or cherry tomatoes), cut the tips of the green beans. Measure and set aside the corn, and frozen peas
- Mince the garlic and ginger.
- Heat up, the oil, add 1 tsp white pepper with 2 tablespoons of yellow curry powder, 1 tsp of turmeric powder, 1 tsp of salt, yellow onion, garlic and ginger.
- Stir well, sauté for 1-2 minutes until the onions have softened a little.
- Stir in the sliced carrots, diced red pepper (or tomato), green beans, cashews, corn, peas. Mix well to coat and cook for 5-7 minutes covered until they are softer but still firm.
- Gently fold in the coconut rice, 1 cup of diced pineapple, soy sauce, 1-2 tbsp of pineapple juice, until it is well coated with the spices. Cook for another minute or two.
- Add the raisins, and chopped green onions.
- Top with fresh cilantro and serve immediately!
If you can find vegan ham, little cubes make the perfect addition!