A year has gone by so quickly. My blog is a year old this month. I remember my first blog was heart-shaped macarons for Valentine’s that I posted on February 2nd of last year. I thought it was just last month but in fact here it’s the time for a Hallmark holiday again.
Yes, I’m a Miss Anti-Valentine’s celebrator. You know, out of 365 days, why do I feel the need to go out to eat on the day that all the restaurants will only serve a set menu? I also don’t feel the need to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with the next table, (this isn’t Paris!) eavesdropping on their fights or romantic conversation, to the point where I’ve almost missed what sweetheart is saying to me! Sorry, I can’t help listening when the couple is practically an inch away from sitting on my lap.
Same solution this year. I will be cooking the Valentine’s dinner and serving it at home. I will give you the recipe for something simple but beautiful. This might not be as low-carb or as quick to cook as the Chicken Milanese one last year, but it’s sure to be delicious.
Ingredients for the Pineapple Fried Rice
Flesh from half a pineapple
Raisins 1/4 cup
Onion, diced 1/4 cup
Chopped garlic 1 teaspoon
Cook white rice, cold 1-1/2 − 2 cups
Ham, Turkey ham, Chicken or Tofu, diced 1/2 cup
Shrimp or Fried Tofu 1/2 cup
Cashew nuts 1/4 cup
Curry powder 2 tablespoons
Butter (at room temperature) 1- 2 tablespoons
Oil 1 tablespoon
Soy sauce 1/4 cup
Green onion cut to 1/2 inch lengths, 2 tablespoons
Red bell pepper, diced 2 tablespoons
Red chili threads
Cilantro to garnish
Ingredients for the Pineapple soup
Pineapple core from one pineapple
Garlic 2-3 cloves
Your choice of meat: pork ribs or chicken drumsticks, only a few pieces of them. For vegetarians use firm tofu or fried tofu.
Soy sauce, sugar and pepper to taste
The day before…
You might consider doing these:
– Cook the rice
– Cut up the pineapple if you don’t have a lot of time on the day of. If you want the fancy pineapple serving bowl as shown, I suggest you do it the day before, because it took me more than half an hour to scoop out the flesh and cut it into pieces. (Save EVERYTHING)
– You can make the soup the day before.
Method for the soup
1) Core the pineapple and cut it in cubes, size 1/2”x1/2”x1/2”
2) Add meat of your choice, pineapple core, garlic with water in a pan, enough to cover above the meat, about 1”
3) Boil over medium low heat until it’s bubbling. It should take a long time, may be half an hour to 45 minutes. Skim the foam on top and lower the heat to low, then simmer it for another hour. Make sure that the meat and pineapple core are tender.
4) Season to your taste. It supposed to be slightly sour, with a hint of sweet and not too salty. You can put this in the refrigerator overnight. If you don’t have space in the fridge, you can leave it on the stove but you will need to bring it to a full boil at the end. As soon as it boils, cover with lid and let it boil another half minute under the lid then turn the heat off. Do not open the lid until you’re ready to heat it up again the next day.
Method for fried rice
1) First and very important is the rice has to be previously cooked and cooled down. We do not fry freshly-cooked rice; it will turn into a mush. If you forgot to cook the rice, then cook it and put it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
2) Once the rice grains are all dry, add butter and one tablespoon of curry powder to the rice and mix them all together.
Make sure that every single grain is covered with curry powder and butter. This step is to ensure that you get a good fried rice and there are no lumps of white rice mixed in with the fried rice.
3) Put a wok over high heat, add oil (If you like coconut oil, you can use it. I used coconut milk to make oil but you don’t have to do it the same way I do.)
and onion to the wok, then cook until the onion is clear.
You have to toss everything really fast or else it would burn. If you can’t do it fast enough, cook in smaller portions, but never reduce the heat. Do not sacrifice the heat for anything. This is the only crucial tip to making good fried rice.
4) Add the shrimp,
cut-up pineapple and the rest of the curry powder to the wok.
Toss them together quickly until the shrimp are cooked.
5) Add the rice that is already seasoned with butter and curry powder.
Toss them together with the rest of the ingredients in the wok. They will get a little soggy because the pineapple will release its juice, but it will never get watery. Season with soy sauce, adding it one tablespoon at a time, then flip the contents quickly to evenly distribute the soy sauce, and then add some more. Taste it eventually and add more as needed.
Cook over high heat until every single grain of rice is hot all the way to the inside. The fried rice should get drier. I was taught to “fry the rice until the grains are dancing”. Well, it usually happens, but not in this case due to the pineapple. Normally, once all the rice grains are separated and hot, you would see some grains at the edge of the wok starting to bounce a little. You won’t see it as you keep moving the contents in the wok around quickly to prevent them from burning, but if you stop just a little, you will see this.
6) Add the cashew nuts, then add the chili threads, then turn off the heat, but keep stirring and pushing the fried rice around the wok for another minute or two
and then add the green onion, stirring some more. Make sure it cools down a bit before putting the fried rice in the pineapple. Some time I add the Pork Floss (You can read about it in the Pork Floss Shortbread post here)
Sometime I add the Chicharron on top to add texture.
You can also serve it on the plate.