Grilled Pineapple Fried Rice
We eat a fair amount of rice in my household, and that means pretty consistent rice leftovers, which translates to a lot of fried rice. While I find myself making fried rice often, I've stuck to two variations—most often it's Filipino-style garlic fried rice, and every now and then I do a Thai fried rice. When planning my Tiki-themed Meatwave last month, I started to think that fried rice would be an apt and plentiful side to serve, and it would also allow me to spread my wings a bit into new fried rice territory. Since I was thinking along Tiki lines, it should be no surprise that pineapple was on my mind, and that led me to this great grilled pineapple fried.
Now if you want to go for presentation gold like I did here, I highly recommend investing the effort to make a pineapple bowl as a serving vessel. To make the bowl, I cut the pineapple in half lengthwise and cut the flesh into roughly 1-inch strips. I then ran a spoon around the edge of the pineapple flesh, and those strips popped out one-by-one as I went along and left a hollow shell for holding rice later on.
Once I had my bowl and wedges all prepped, I fired up the grill and cooked up the pineapple over direct heat. I let it grill until the exterior of the pineapple developed nice browning all over. It takes a little while for the pineapple to begin to brown, but once it does, it can go from beautiful to blackened quickly, so it helps to keep a watchful eye and turn the pineapple occasionally as it cooks to avoid over charring. Once the pineapple was done, I transferred it to a cutting board and cut the wedges into a medium dice.
I had planned to take my wok and nestle it in the coals to make the fried rice. I used to do this with my old wok and the high heat of the charcoal was great for cooking things in a wok incredibly fast. Unfortunately though, my new wok didn't fit within the grill, so I had to shlep all my fried rice ingredients I had brought downstairs back to the kitchen to put this together on the stove.
After heating a couple tablespoons of oil until shimmering, I added in onions and red bell pepper. These are the two ingredients with the longest cooking time, which is why they went first up to bat. Since this fried rice was going to have a sweet bent to it already from the pineapple, I decided to let these two ingredients sauté until the onions began to brown lightly, which would translate to a sweeter, rather than sharper, flavor in the end.
Next I tossed in some cashews and garlic and cooked those two until the garlic was fragrant. I then pushed all the ingredients in the wok to the side and added in three eggs. I used my spatula to scramble them as they cooked, and once done, I also pushed them to the side and heated a little more oil before adding in the rice. Day old rice is key here for best cooking and proper texture, but the rice needs to be separated and fluffed up a bit before it hits the wok so you don't end up with big clumps of stuck together rice in the end.
After heating the rice thoroughly, I added in the seasonings of curry powder and soy sauce, mixing them in until the rice was coated evenly. Then I added in pineapple to my personal taste—you may not use all the pineapple you grilled—and also scallions for some green and also freshness. After seasoning with pepper to taste, I spooned the rice into my two pineapple bowls and served.
There was a collective awe and appreciation of the presentation when I set the rice out for consumption. Sometimes I give credit to things tasting better based on their presentation, but I think any way I served this pineapple fried rice, it would have been equally as awesome. It definitely departed from the fried rices I'm more accustomed to making with its sweet profile thanks to the pineapple, onions, and red pepper. But the sugars also has a nice balance from the salty and savory soy sauce, buttery cashews, and earthy curry powder. It was totally at home in our line-up of Tiki-inspired foods that day, but it definitely doesn't need that context to grace your plate anytime you feel like having this truly tasty fried rice.
Grilled Pineapple Fried Rice
- Yield 6-8 servings
- Prep 10 Minutes
- Cook 25 Minutes
- Total 35 Minutes
- 1 small pineapple, peeled, halved, cored and sliced lengthwise into 1-inch wedges
- 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup unsalted cashews
- 2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 cups cooked jasmine rice, refrigerated overnight and fluffed with fork before using
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoons curry powder
- 1/2 cup finely sliced green onion
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place pineapple wedges on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 8 minutes total. Transfer pineapple to a cutting board and cut into a medium dice.
- Remove grilling grate and place wok on top of coals. Alternatively, place wok over high on a stovetop. Place 2 tablespoons of oil in wok and heat until shimmering. Add onion and bell pepper to wok and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion has softened and is just starting to brown. Add in cashews and garlic and continue to cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Push all ingredients in wok to the side and add in eggs. Use spatula to scramble eggs while they cook. When done cooking push egg to the side with the other ingredients.
- Add in remaining tablespoon of oil and heat until shimmering. Add in rice, mixing with all ingredients in wok, and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add in soy sauce and curry powder and mix until rice is uniformly coated. Mix in pineapple to taste. Remove from heat and mix in green onions. Season with pepper to taste. Transfer rice to a serving bowl and serve immediately.
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gary thatcher Summer is upon us. grilling season is right around the corner.
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click the link below.