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Pineapple Fried Rice

Turn your takeout into an entirely new and healthy side dish!

Pineapple Fried Rice

Preparing fried rice at home turns a greasy take-out standby into a healthful, delicious dish. Using day-old rice not only saves time, but prevents the fried rice from being soggy and mushy (freshly cooked rice is too moist to fry right away). Diced pineapple gives the the fried rice some extra punch. This dish is made easily vegetarian by eliminating the egg. If you begin with a whole pineapple, consider slicing it in half vertically so you can use one half as a serving vessel. Serving fried rice like that makes it almost too pretty to eat...almost!

Essential equipment: cutting board; chef's knife; wok or large nonstick sauté pan; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; microplane; wooden spoon or paddle

Ingredients: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 garlic clove, finely chopped 2 teaspoons minced ginger

2 large eggs, beaten with a fork

1 small onion, finely diced

½ cup diced carrots (1 large carrot)

½ cup green peas 2 cups cooked, day-old white rice

1 cup diced fresh pineapple (¼-inch) *

2 teaspoons soy sauce

½ cup roasted unsalted cashews (optional)

1 scallion, thinly sliced on bias (optional)

*score the pineapple half with a paring knife or the tip of a chef's knife, leaving a ¼- to ½-inch border. Slice the flesh in half lengthwise, then crosswise. Use a spoon to scoop out the four sections and then dice. Scrape the pineapple half to create a smooth "bowl" and save those scraps and any juices for later use (like a pina colada or a The Best Carrot Cake Ever!).

1. Heat a wok over high heat and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Swirl the pan to coat the sides with oil and immediately add eggs. Shake the wok to cook the eggs quickly, stirring with a wooden spoon if necessary. Remove the eggs from the wok and set aside.

2. Return the wok to the heat and add the other tablespoon of oil. Swirl the pan to coat the sides with oil and immediately add the garlic and ginger. Stir fry approximately one minute, or until fragrant, without burning. Add the onions, carrots, and peas and stir fry for another minute. Then add the cold, day-old rice and break the clumps with a wooden spoon. Stir fry for two minutes until the grains of rice are not stuck to one another.

“ILOC tip: Never ever use freshly made rice for fried rice. It is simply too moist and soft to make a proper fried rice, a dish whose marked characteristic is individual grains of rice that do not stick to one another.”

3. Add the soy sauce and toss well to coat. Add the pineapple and return the egg to the wok, breaking up the egg into pieces. Add the optional cashews and incorporate. Sprinkle with the optional scallions.

4. Spoon into the pineapple half, if using. Serve immediately.

Makes 4-8 servings, depending on course/use.

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