One of our favorite comfort foods is a bowl of savory fried rice, especially from our favorite take-out place. As much as we love our take-out order, making it at home is pretty easy and super delicious. This particular recipe is a citrusy take on our favorite fried rice, one that brings in the bright and crisp sweetness from pineapple chunks and uses that flavor as a backdrop for a combination of some savory and spicy flavors. As important as taste and smell are to how we eat, eating is also very visual, and when food smells, tastes, and looks this good, then we know we’re eating well.
Fresh pineapple is so, so, so good, and can make a big difference when it comes to flavor. So when possible, you’ll definitely want to go fresh – it’s worth the extra effort. Canned pineapple chunks will do just fine here, and of course, they eliminate the hard part of cutting a pineapple! Once you’ve got your pineapple cut and the rice prepared, it’s time to build a flavor profile. To do that, you’ll start by whisking together the all-important sauce for the fried rice: salty soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, nutty sesame oil, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Each ingredient in the sauce enhances the other, creating a perfect dressing for the rice to cook in. Set that aside and turn your attention to the next few steps.
You’ll find most of the usual suspects in our rice mixture, like carrots, peas, corn kernels, bell pepper, and green onions. You’ll heat up some sesame oil in a skillet and toss these veggies with green onions, garlic, and ginger. Each of these ingredients brings something special to the finished dish. Once everything has had time to get nice and toasty in the skillet, you’ll then add the rice and pineapple chunks and give them a quick sauté. The rice will absorb all of that wonderful flavor from the sautéed veggies and the pineapples will begin to release their juice, which will only enhance the savory sauce you’ve mixed up and will now pour over top of the rice and vegetable mixture.
Look at how pretty that is! To finish, you’ll top the rice with some garnishes, like sesame seeds, fresh green onion, Thai basil leaves, and some peanuts or cashews, which add a nice crunchy texture and nutty flavor. This dish accomplishes those three essentials that we mentioned at the beginning: it smells wonderful, looks absolutely amazing, and tastes delicious.
Pineapple Fried Rice Skillet
40 minutes to prepare serves 4-6
- 2 tablespoons sesame or peanut oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 1 cup green onions, finely chopped on diagonal
- 1 cup carrot, finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1/2 cup corn
- 1/2 cup peas
- 3 cups cooked Jasmine rice
- 1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, cubed
- 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
- peanuts or cashews, chopped, garnish
- lime wedges, garnish
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 pineapples
- sesame seeds, garnish
- cilantro, garnish
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce and brown sugar, and season with red pepper flakes, if using. Set aside until ready to use.
- Heat sesame oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, sauté garlic and ginger for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant, then add green onions and cook for another 1 minute.
- Add in carrot and bell pepper, cooking for 6-8 minutes, or until fork tender, then stir in corn and peas. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in cooked rice and sauce mixture, then stir in pineapple and nuts.
- Serve with sesame seeds, green onion, nuts, lime wedges, cilantro, etc.