Good fried rice is hard to come by in this town. I’ve been known to skip the greasy, salty, it-all-tastes-the-same fried rice that’s offered in favor of brown rice. Any time I have veered from that plan, I find that I’m eating the fried rice just because it traveled home in the same container as my chicken and broccoli and I don’t actually enjoy it. The chicken fried rice tastes exactly like the pork fried rice, and exactly like the shrimp or veggie fried rice. None of the ingredients stand out, and it seems silly to choose your protein (or lack of protein) and have an end result that tells me it wouldn’t have mattered. There’s something to be said for consistency, I suppose, but I like each ingredient to still retain some of its flavor. Perhaps I expect too much from the local takeout places. Fried rice made at home, is an entirely different story.
After I finished being more excited than any sane person should be about wild scallions in the yard and decided to make scallion pancakes, I knew I needed a meal that would be a good following act. Homemade fried rice was an obvious choice, and a great one-pot meal. Everything went into the wok, and it all came out of the wok full of flavor. Each ingredient contributed something and didn’t overwhelm the others. This was especially important because instead of the simpler fried rice I usually make at home, this one has Sriracha and pineapple. I’ve mentioned before how much I adore the tasty firestorm that is Sriracha, so it’s not much of a surprise that I loved this fried rice. The sweetness of the pineapple plays really well with the Sriracha and the finished fried rice isn’t overly spicy. Combined with chicken, peas, carrots, and the scrambled egg that my fried rice just isn’t complete without, this makes a tasty meal in no time. I used brown rice as the base because I’m the weird kid who loves brown rice but Jasmine rice would work perfectly as well. For fried rice, I really like to use rice that’s been cooked at least a day before (the remaining ingredients just “stick” better), but this time I forgot and instead made the rice in the morning and it was plenty sticky in time to make this. Making the rice that far ahead is a time saver and I think it makes for a better end result, but it isn’t entirely necessary.
Sriracha Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice
- 1 1/2 C. brown or Jasmine rice
- 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 8 oz. boneless skinless chicken, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (optional, or substitute shrimp)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 7 green onions, white and light green parts only, sliced
- 1 1/2 C. pineapple chunks (either fresh or canned in juice and drained)
- 1 C. frozen peas, thawed (or fresh shelled peas, or edamame)
- 4 Tbsp. light (low-sodium) soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp. Sriracha, plus additional for serving
Prepare the rice according to package directions (I like to do this at least a day ahead of time but it isn’t necessary), using very slightly less water than the directions call for. The rice should be slightly firmer than serving consistency, because it will continue to cook during the rest of the process.
Heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or wok.
Saute the carrot and onion for about 5 minutes, until soft.
Add the chicken to the skillet and cook, stirring, until chicken is cooked through.
Remove the chicken, carrot and onion from the wok or skillet to a separate bowl.
Heat the remaining tsp. of oil in the wok and pour in the eggs.
Cook the eggs, stirring occasionally, for 2-4 minutes until cooked through.
Add the rice to the eggs in the wok or skillet and stir to combine. Let cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the onion, chicken, and carrot mixture to the rice mixture in the wok or skillet.
Stir in the green onions, pineapple, and peas and stir to combine.
Add the soy sauce and Sriracha to the mixture and stir to combine.
Cook for 3-5 minutes without stirring, then stir the mixture and cook for 3-5 minutes more without stirring. Repeat this process 2-3 times so all of the rice gets close to crispy.
Remove the mixture from the heat, serve with extra Sriracha on the side.
Makes 6 generous servings.
Source: adapted from Passports and Pancakes