On the way out of the theatre one night last spring, she asked, “Can we order pineapple fried rice?” Of course we could, but, knowing the contents of the City House fridge, I bet her that I could make pineapple fried rice faster than we could have it delivered.
Fried rice is, after all, a way to use leftovers. You can’t really call it pineapple fried rice if there’s no pineapple and no rice, but aside from that almost everything is a variable. There are plenty of recipes for authentic pineapple fried rice, but they don’t agree with one another. It’s perfect for improvisation.
Sauté some onion. (If you’ve got scallions, great; sauté the white and keep the green aside.)
Chop something green. (Peas are common to many recipes, but not all; if green beans are on hand, go for it. If broccoli or brussels sprouts are all you’ve got, use less–unless you’re making this dish for me, in which case the more the merrier.) If there’s some red bell pepper around, dice and add it, too.
Bring on the leftover rice.
Add soy sauce and tomato paste–maybe a teaspoon of each, and a generous splash of pineapple juice. If you keep fish sauce around, maybe half a teaspoon. Stir everything to combine.
As for protein, what’s on hand? A piece of leftover chicken? Half a pork chop? A few shrimp, a bit of beef, whatever.
Oh–and an egg. You can beat it first, or simply crack it over the pan and stir it in. Then some pineapple. Fresh is best, of course, but canned will do; I prefer chunks, but crushed offers more bite-homogeneousness.
If you live at the Country House, there are cashew pieces in the fridge for making granola. (If not, there may be peanuts, even if only a couple packets you brought home from a plane flight.) Toss them on top, with the green bits of scallion. If there’s a lime handy, serve a wedge of it alongside and squeeze the juice in tableside.
Serves two for a late supper, or one, with leftovers for lunch.
This version is not authentically Thai, but neither are we. It is cheaper than delivery–and has a lower carbon footprint. Also, you don’t have to put on a robe to answer the door. And it cleans out the fridge.
She planned to rush home yesterday to work on some gardening in whatever daylight was left. Since I wouldn’t be home at dinnertime and
knew she’d be tired, I prepared a batch of inauthentic pineapple fried rice and left it for her in the fridge.
I don’t remember the stakes of last spring’s homemade-vs-takeout wager, but I won. And I know what’s for lunch today.