Here are some requirements I have for at homemade dinner plans. Must be easy to make. Must take less than an hour to prepare. Needs relatively simple ingredients that we often already have, or can easily be substituted. And, it’s got to feel different from other dishes we already have on heavy rotation. No one likes to feel like they are eating the same thing all the time.
To be fair, that’s a pretty tall order. But, this pineapple fried rice totally fits the bill! Although I must admit, there’s really nothing traditional about this dish. It’s simply a “how I like it” version. You could easily substitute the tofu for cooked shrimp or chicken, or even leave it out entirely. If you’re wanting a vegan version just omit the fish sauce and egg. And if you want it a little more salty or a little more spicy just go heavy on the soy sauce or red pepper flakes called for in the following recipe. Make it how you like it. 🙂
1 cup uncooked rice
8-12 ounces extra firm tofu
1 bell pepper
1 small/medium pineapple (you can use canned pineapple if needed)
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar or maple syrup
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup cashew halves
The very best thing you can do to elevate homemade fried rice is use day old rice. Weird, right? This will help to ensure your dish doesn’t turn our soggy or clumpy. Just cook the cup of rice in two cups of water the day before you plan to use it and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
Next you’ll want to get the baked tofu started. Drain the tofu from the liquid in its package. Place on a plate, lined with a paper towel. Place another paper towel on top of the tofu, then a second plate on top of the that paper towel. Now place something heavy on top, like a large can of stewed tomatoes (or whatever you have on hand). Allow the tofu to continue to drain for 12-15 minutes. Cut into small cubes. Sprinkle a tablespoon of cornstarch or arrow root powder and little salt over all the cubes, tossing. Then bake at 350°F for 25-35 minutes, flipping them half way through the bake time. You can bake tofu days in advance and store, refrigerated, in Tupperware until you need it.
Chop up the veggies and thaw the frozen peas and carrots. Heat a large pan over high heat. Add in a tablespoon of oil and cook all the veggies until they just begin to soften (2-3 minutes). Remove to a plate. Reduce the heat down to medium. Crack the egg into the hot pan. Swirl to scramble, this will cook very quickly (a minute or less). Remove to the same plate with the veggies. Reduce the heat to medium/low. Add in another tablespoon of oil. Cook the cold rice in the oil for 2-3 minutes.
In a small bowl or cup stir together the: soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, brown sugar or maple syrup, red pepper flakes and minced garlic. Pour half this mixture over the rice, stir so every piece gets coated. Now add back in the veggies, egg, and baked tofu. Pour the rest of the sauce over the mixture. Stir in the green onions and nuts. Cook just until everything is hot (another 3-4 minutes).
Note: If you’d like to enjoy this as part of the Weekday Weekend Challenge be sure to use brown rice or another whole grain option.
Credits // Author and photos by: Emma Chapman