In this recipe, you’ll learn:
- -How to easily cut a whole pineapple to use as a pretty serving bowl.
- -How to prevent soggy, heavy, goopy fried rice with some easy cooking tips.
- -Why cooking certain ingredients separately is essential to the best Pineapple Fried Rice.
There’s a misconception that good, restaurant quality fried rice requires cooking at super-high heat. While it’s nice to have a strong flame on your stove, it’s absolutely not necessary. I’ll show you have to make the best fried rice at home with some simple cooking tips that will guarantee fluffy, light, tasty fried rice — and NOT soggy, goopy or heavy.
Fried Rice Tip #1
Use leftover rice that’s been refrigerated. Freshly cooked, hot rice will not make too-sticky, glue-like texture in your fried rice. That’s because hot, cooked rice is already sticky and perfectly cooked. Adding this into a wok — with additional ingredients and liquid will turn the rice into mush.
Sometimes, I’ll make a batch of rice, then freeze it. When I want to make fried rice, I’ll defrost the rice to use (but make sure you don’t heat it through — just defrost until no longer frozen).
Fried Rice Tip #2
Another important tip with rice – prior to cooking, wet your hands and run your fingers through the rice, separating each grain of rice. Rice won’t stick as much to wet hands. Separating the grains before adding to the wok will make the rice fluffier and lighter. Imagine adding a clump of rice into the wok and trying to separate out the clumps with a spatula – too difficult!
Fried Rice Tip #3
Cook ingredients separately. In this recipe, you’ll cook the egg first, then dish out to plate. Then, in same pan, cook the chicken. A couple minutes later, add the shrimp. This is to ensure that each ingredient is perfectly cooked (not over or under cooked) AND that each ingredient maintains their distinct flavor and texture.
Chicken takes longer to cook than shrimp, and if you cooked them together, the shrimp will be rubbery and tough.
The egg is cooked separate, because it cooks up so fast – and we’re looking for scrambled egg pieces in the fried rice. If you add the egg into the pan along with other ingredients, the egg will just coat all the ingredients and make them heavy. Plus, everything will taste like a mish-mash of ingredients. I want my eggs to taste like eggs, and my shrimp to taste like shrimp!
How to cut Whole Pineapple for Serving
Take a look at your pineapple. Which side is the flattest? The flattest side should be the bottom of the pineapple bowl. If your pineapple is roly-poly, then go ahead and make a very thin slice, just to create a flat edge. I probably could have sliced mine a little thinner — too thick of a cut and you’ll cut too much flesh.
Now cut the pineapple in half, lengthwise – keeping in mind here the “bottom” of the pineapple bowl is.
Reserve half of that pineapple for another use.
Use a knife to cut along the edge of the pineapple, about 1/4″ away from edge. Go all the way around. I like using a flexible boning knife so that i can get deep into the pineapple. Just be careful not to cut all the way through the skin — and especially not through the bottom of the pineapple.
Cut along both sides of the pineapple core. We’ll discard the core later.
Use a large spoon to scoop to lift up the pineapple flesh and loosen the pieces.
Take out the core, and set aside (we might have to use it a little later.)
Scoop and scrape out the rest of the flesh, being careful not to go through the skin or through the bottom of the pineapple.
But oops, see that little hole? Don’t worry. I’ll plug it up. Cut a small piece from your pineapple core, and press it into that hole. That should plug it up nicely.
Now, it’s ready for your fried rice! Discard the rest of the core. Cut the pineapple flesh into small, bite-sized pieces, about the size of a dice. If you feel like you want more pineapple, feel free to cut the other side as well. But remember, that too much pineapple in the fried rice will mask the flavors of the delicate rice, shrimp and chicken.
Everyday Chinese Cooking by Katie Chin
The original photo of the dish is from Everyday Chinese Cookbook by Katie Chin. I’ve made changes to her original recipe (Katie used pre-cooked chicken and pre-cooked shrimp in the recipe), and I think you’ll love the flavors of sweet pineapple in this dish.
Pineapple Fried Rice Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Pineapple Fried Rice Recipe adapted from Everyday Chinese Cookbook by Katie Chin, reprinted with permission. We'll be only using HALF of a whole pineapple, that's cut in half, lengthwise. If you don't care about serving the rice in the pineapple, then use 1 1/2 cups of cubed fresh pineapple. Feel free to use brown rice in this recipe.
1 whole pineapple
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
salt & freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces chicken meat, cut into bite sized cubes
4 ounces raw shrimp, shelled & deveined, cut into bite sized cubes
3 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
2 stalks green onion, chopped
1 teaspoon grated or minced fresh ginger
3 cups cooked and chilled rice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
6 white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
1. Cut the pineapple according to the step by step photos in the post, above the recipe. Cut pineapple flesh into small dice, we'll use about 1 cup. Save the remaining unused pineapple for another use.
2. In a small bowl, season the chicken salt and pepper and a few drops of sesame oil. In a separate small bowl, do the same for the shrimp. Wet your hands and separate the grains of the cooked, chilled rice.
3. Heat a wok or large saute pan over medium-high heat. When hot, swirl in 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. Add in the eggs, and scramble until just set. Transfer to plate and set aside.
4. Wipe the wok or pan clean with paper towel. Heat wok over high heat. When hot, swirl in 1 tablespoon cooking oil. Add the chicken pieces and stir fry until just browned, but still slightly pink on the inside, about 2 minutes. Add in the shrimp to the wok and stir fry the chicken and shrimp together, until the shrimp is pink and the chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken and shrimp to same plate as the eggs and set aside.
5. Return wok to stove, heat over high heat. When hot, swirl in 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. Add in the green onions and ginger and stir fry for 15 seconds, until fragrant. Add in the cooked rice and mushrooms and stir-fry for 2 minutes, until each grain of rice is hot to the core. Add in the soy sauce and sesame oil, give it a good toss. Add in the reserved egg/chicken/shrimp mixture, the pineapple cubes, the peas and toss well. Cook for an 2 minutes, until all ingredients are heated through. Taste, and season with additional soy sauce and black pepper, if desired.