Pineapple Fried Rice
In this Pineapple Fried Rice recipe, you’ll learn:
- How to prevent soggy, heavy, goopy fried rice.
- How to easily cut a whole pineapple to use as a pretty serving bowl.
- Why cooking certain ingredients separately is essential to the best Pineapple Fried Rice.
Pineapple Fried Rice only takes minutes to cook, but can easily become a heavy, soggy mess if you just throw all the ingredients into the pan for a stir fry. I’ll show you have to make the best pineapple fried rice at home with some simple cooking tips that will guarantee fluffy, light, tasty fried rice — and NOT soggy, goopy or heavy.
Why use leftover rice
Use leftover rice that’s been refrigerated. Freshly cooked, hot rice will result in 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 (like soy sauce) will turn the rice into mush.
Leftover, refrigerated rice has had a chance to dry out a bit. The process of cooking and adding in liquids and wet ingredients (for Pineapple fried rice, it would be soy sauce and pineapple) will rehydrate the rice grains.
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).
Separate the grains before cooking
Here is another important tip – prior to cooking, wet your hands and run your fingers through the cold 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 – it is too difficult!
Cook ingredients separately
In this recipe for Pineapple Fried Rice, 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 we want perfectly 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!
Cut whole pineapple for serving bowl
If you want to use whole pineapple for Pineapple Fried Rice, use the pineapple as a bowl for a presentation. 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 (and your bowl will leak)
Now cut the pineapple in half, lengthwise – keeping in mind here where 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 Pineapple 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 recipe and photo of the dish is from Everyday Chinese Cookbook by Katie Chin (reprinted with permission). I’ve made changes to her 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.
More Fried Rice Recipes
Pineapple Fried Rice Recipe
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 diced 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 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 cold, leftover rice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- 6 white button mushrooms thinly sliced (or shiitake mushrooms)
- 1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
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 1/2 cups. Save the remaining unused pineapple for another use.
- 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.
Heat a wok or large saute pan over medium-high heat. When hot, swirl in just 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. Add in the eggs, and scramble until just set. Transfer to plate and set aside.
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 just cooked through, about 1 minute. Transfer the chicken and shrimp to same plate as the eggs and set aside.
- 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.