Aloha! Is that what this bowl of Hawaiian Pineapple Fried Rice is saying to you? This colorful, pretty little bowl is loaded with so many flavors. Sweet? Yup. Savory? Yeah. Umami? Oh boy!! All this from a few left over ingredients lying around your house. How is that possible? This GORGEOUSNESS comes not from fancy stuff but some regular every day things. And this one is done in no time. Get ready to stir and fry and make this beauty happen. Right now… in your kitchen!!
Fried rice is everybody’s favorite, right? Why?
- It comes to your table in less than 30 minutes.
- It’s highly versatile and can be customized to what you feel like, or what you have in your kitchen. It’s great when you need to clean that fridge out!
- And very few can say no to those Asian flavors!
Now, let’s make this even more interesting with a little sweet and salty touch. The sweetness comes from juicy ripe pineapple chunks and the saltiness from that divine ham. That’s all you need to give your regular fried a little island tweak!
So tell me about this Hawaiian version…
One fruit that comes in your mind when you think about Hawaii is pineapple. They have an abundance, so you will often find it in their food. Their cuisine is also heavily influenced by the wave of Asian immigrants who came to work on their pineapple and sugarcane plantations. Thus, Hawaiian fried rice!
Many Hawaiians use Spam in their fried rice, as it’s extremely popular in these islands. It was originally brought there by American G.I.s and it became an important source of protein for locals when fishing around the islands was prohibited during World War II.
You can choose to make your rice with Spam, or like me use that leftover ham I’ve had in my freezer since the holidays. Or you may use an entirely different protein, there are lots of variations noted below. Keep on reading…
Fried rice is pretty simple ain’t it? You just need to keep few tips and tricks to stir and fry like a pro…
- Use appropriate pan. A “wok” is much preferred for anything that needs quick stir fry. You would need a pretty good size for this to accommodate all the veggies and rice. You want to be able to stir it nicely without spilling over. In the case of no wok, use an oversized non stick skillet.
- Use high heat. Asian style stir fries needs to be cooked on piping hot high heat. This enables us to fry the veggies and rice nicely and retain their crunch if you do it quickly. Get the wok hot before adding your oil .This helps keep the food from sticking to the pan.
- Use the right kind of oil. You need something with a high smoke point, otherwise it will burn in the high temperatures and ruin the taste of your stir fry. The oil most usually associated with stir frying is peanut oil. Most common oils will do though, just avoid extra virgin olive oil, flax seed oil or butter. Also, although we are using sesame oil as a seasoning, it should be added later on and is not appropriate for stir frying.
- Use cold rice. Fresh rice has too much moisture so won’t fry well and can turn clumpy and mushy. A day old or leftover rice is an ideal for your stir fries! No left over rice? Just plan a little ahead. Cook it in the morning and keep it in the refrigerator. Or if cooking only a few hours before, spread it evenly on a baking sheet and cool it in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes until it’s thoroughly chilled.
- What rice? We feel basmati and jasmine rice are great options for fried rice. In a pinch you can use long grain, but you want your rice light and fluffy, not sticky and clumpy. Before stir frying, separate the grains with your hands just in case they clump together.
- Prepare all the ingredients in advanced before you even heat up the wok. The actual sir frying goes very fast and you need to finish the dish before the veggies start getting mushy. Prepare your sauce, whisk your eggs, cut all your veggies, aromatics(ginger, garlic) and proteins in advance so everything is prepped and ready to sizzle.
- Use plenty of veggies and protein. You need to add flavors to get flavors out of your food. These different colored veggies not only adds so much color and vibrancy to this tropical dish, but adds so many layers of flavors.
- Use mix of soy + oyster + sesame oil. We swear by oyster sauce and sesame oil in our Asian food. Please try and note the difference when you have these in addition to just say sauce. You just need a small dash of sesame oil, as it goes a long ways. You can customize how much soy sauce you want in your pot. You can always add more to your bowl according to your own sodium tolerance or preference.
OK… you’re still with me… great. You must really love me or want to make some killer fried rice!
- Pineapple – Yup. Trust me when I say it goes beautifully in your fried rice. Especially when paired with some salty protein. Asian flavorings enhances the sweet juicy fruit. I used fresh. Canned works great too, but rinse the syrup off first so it doesn’t make your rice too sweet.
- Ham – I am sure you have some leftovers in your freezer. If not, any good quality deli ham will do. Then, there’s always Spam.
- Cooked, chilled rice – Leftover is the best. You can experiment with brown rice too. My choice is jasmine or basmati.
- Veggies – Today I am using a few bell papers like red and green(you can use any color), carrots, peas, onion and green onion. The white and green portions of the green onion will be used separately, so keep them divided.
- Garlic – Any Asian dish is incomplete without it.
- Ginger – Same here.
- Eggs – Imagine soft, luscious scrambled eggs mixed in with your rice… great flavor and texture.
- Soy sauce – A fried rice staple.
- Oyster sauce – For an added layer of flavor.
- Sesame oil – That toasty flavor is amazing!
- Cooking oil – Something with a high smoke point like peanut, vegetable or soybean.
Finally, let’s cook
Did you prep all your ingredients in advance like I told you earlier? If not, go ahead and do that, this will fry up quick!
Get your wok or large skillet sizzling hot over high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of cooking oil. When it is nice and hot (the oil will have a thin, watery consistency when it is ready), add peppers, onions and the white part of the green onions. Toss it for about a minute. Add carrots, ginger, garlic and ham. Stir and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add peas, another stir, and move everything to one side of the pan.
On the now empty side of the pan, add another tablespoon of oil. Pour in your whisked eggs and scramble soft and luscious. Mix everything together then add rice and sauces. Stir fry 1-2 minutes. Finally, add your pineapple, and stir everything together. Now you are ready to dish out your fried rice and garnish with the green parts of the green onions.
Some other easy variations:
You can test the level of your creativity when it comes to simple fried rice. Please don’t skip the pineapple in this one, as this is my Hawaiian version. But you can…
- Swap the protein. No ham? No spam ? No sweat. Try chicken or shrimp or even steak in your fried rice instead. Always sauté your protein and cook it almost full before mixing in with your rice. Use shredded rotisserie chicken if you want to take a huge short cut.
- Eliminate the protein. Want to go vegetarian or vegan? It’s still tastes great without protein or eggs.
- More veggies to add. How about some broccoli, snow peas, mushrooms, corn, green beans, zucchini, cauliflower. All have the potential to make fabulous fried rice (but my husband says please don’t use all at once).
- Want to add little crunch? Add cashews to your stir fry. Peanuts, sliced almonds, water chestnuts… all so good… yum.
- Crave some spice there? Add a dash, or tons, of sriracha or red pepper flakes… whatever you heart is demanding.
How to store leftovers
Generally, this can be refrigerated 3-4 days in an airtight container. But please note, if using leftover ham, it must be used within seven days (not including frozen time) of when the ham was cooked.
Make this Ham + Pineapple “winning pair” in your fried rice, and chow down on this tropical island style dish. My Hawaiian Pineapple fried rice! Aloha!
Hawaiian Pineapple Fried Rice, on my Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 4 cups cooked rice (basmati)
- 2 cups chopped cooked ham
- 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1/2 cup onions
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 1 Tbsp chopped ginger
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup chopped pineapple
- 3 eggs
- 4 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 4 Tbsp cooking oil, divided
- Chop ham and all vegetables, along with garlic and ginger. Whisk eggs in a bowl.
- Heat wok or large skillet over large heat. Add 3 Tbsp cooking oil. Once hot, add onion, white parts of green onions, and peppers. Sauté 1 minute.
- Add carrots, ginger, garlic and ham. Stir fry 2-3 minutes. Add peas, stir and move everything to one side of pan.
- Add remaining 1 Tbsp cooking oil to empty side of pan. Once hot, add whisked eggs and scramble until cooked but still soft. Mix all ingredients in pan together.
- Add rice along with soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil. Mix well and stir fry 1-2 minutes.
- Add pineapple, mix well and remove from heat. Serve and garnish with green portion of green onions.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 376Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 122mgSodium 1124mgCarbohydrates 42gFiber 3gSugar 6gProtein 18g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
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