First things first, I should warn you - this is a meal that will make you get upset with yourself for getting full. It is so good that I never want to stop eating it.
Second of all, I have a question for you: Have you ever been exposed for not knowing something that everyone you were with thought was just a basic piece of information/fact of life?
This recently happened to me when I learned what a pop up camper was.
I didn’t know these contraptions existed until last fall. Of course I had seen them being hauled while driving before, but had always thought they were the dohickies people transport their speed boats on. Any time I saw one, I would get excited for the people diving it around, thinking, “ohhhh they must be going to pick up their boat! fun!”
The people who kindly explained to me what these supposed boat-haulers were were totally tickled by my lack of pop up camper knowledge. All my life I had seen them, and had no idea what they actually were. Didn't even know such a thing as a pop up camper existed. I have no doubt they are still laughing about it.
I’m going to assume you have had a similar experience. I assume everyone has had this experience. I have had this experience frequently enough to have a term for it - “knowledge gaps.”
Everyone has knowledge gaps. Everyone knows a lot about some topics, but there’s a lot of information in the world, and no one can ever know all of it. Sometimes we miss pretty basic information, and that’s okay. Chalk it up to being sick the day your teacher covered that topic in school, to cultural differences, to whatever you want! Knowledge gaps can be exciting because they remind you how much there is still to discover in the world.
What does all of this have to do with Pineapple Fried Rice?
Just that I found another of my knowledge gaps: Canned pineapple.
Did not know this product existed until a couple weeks ago.
I love cooking with pineapple. I think pineapple adds a nice little sweet surprise to savory dishes and it’s a delicious way to eat more fruit. But, picking out and storing and chopping up a fresh pineapple is all just so cumbersome, and I had been shying away from it in recent months.
Until I learned canned pineapple existed. In case you also don’t know about this, your grocery store sells pineapple already cut up, ready to use, in lots of juice, with no sugar or weird stuff added, in a can. AND - perk of all perks - it’s way cheaper than a fresh pineapple.
(You probably already knew about this, but HEAR ME OUT.)
Canned pineapple is especially perfect for this dish because you will use the juice to cook your rice in! It is so pineapple-y.
Oh! And you’re going to caramelize your pineapple chunks and fry your rice in coconut oil, too. It’s all so tropical and fresh and don’t say I didn’t warn you that you won’t want to stop eating it.
And while you're waiting for your rice to cook, tell me about a knowledge gap experience!
Pineapple Fried Rice
A twist on the classic that makes for a very fresh and tropical, but good-year-round kind of dish!
- 1 cup dry brown rice
- 1 (20 ounce) can diced pineapple chunks, drained with liquid reserved
- 5 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
- 1 chicken breast, cubed
- Salt + pepper
- 6 mini bell peppers, sliced
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
You will need to cook your rice in 2 cups of liquid. Use the reserved pineapple juice from the canned pineapple plus however much water is needed to get to 2 cups of liquid total. (I usually get about 1 cup of juice from the can, so need 1 cup of water.) Combine liquid and dry rice in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Simmer for 40 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with fork and set aside.
In a wok or a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Cook until browned - about 5-7 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add remaining 4 tablespoons coconut oil to pan. Add the pineapple chunks and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add peppers and onions to pan with pineapple and cook another 2 minutes, until softened. Add ginger and garlic, and return chicken to pan. Cook 1 minute more. Add cooked rice to pan and stir to coat in oil. Continue cooking over medium-high heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is golden brown. Add soy sauce and green onions and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve immediately.
Chilled rice works best for fried rice. Rice can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to use if time allows!