One of our favorite cuisines, but one that we don’t often cook at home, is Malaysian food. After actually being in Malaysia and eating TONS of freshly fried mee goreng (fried noodles in a delicious sauce), curry, nasi goreng (fried rice), laksa (noodles in a spicy coconut-seafood soup), most of these served from little carts on the street, it’s just hard to recreate those flavors at home in a satisfying way.
One of my favorite restaurants in Toronto is Restoran Malaysia in Richmond Hill, at the corner of Major Mackenzie and Bayview. A few good Singaporean friends of mine swear that their Hainanese Steamed Chicken is just like how Mama made it, and their pineapple fried rice is also really good.
Fortunately, pineapple fried rice is an easy dish and even without the street cart, possible to recreate at home. Serve it in a hollowed-out half pineapple, and you’ve got a stunning presentation that would look at home in a restaurant. And like all fried rice dishes, you can vary the ingredients depending on what you have on hand.
I took a suggestion from Rasa Malaysia, and instead of using a heavy hand with soy sauce, I flavored the rice mostly with a bit of Thai fish sauce. Thai fish sauce is a salty, savory sauce that doesn’t taste fishy at all – it just adds savoriness, or umami – think anchovies in Italian cooking. And don’t mistake it for the Vietnamese version, which is delicious too, but nowhere near as salty.
Fried rice is best with leftover rice that has been refrigerated at least overnight – the rice has a firmer texture and less moisture, so it won’t make the final dish soggy.
Pineapple Fried Rice
½ large pineapple, hollowed out and flesh cubed
½ pound fresh or frozen shrimp, shelled
200g pork, thinly sliced
¼ cup diced carrot
½ onion, diced
1 red chili pepper, thinly sliced
2 cups cooked leftover rice
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
In a wok, heat a little oil and fry the pork and shrimp until cooked through (shrimp should be opaque). Remove to a dish and set aside.
Stir-fry the carrot and onion in the wok until carrot is softened and onion is translucent. Add a little more cooking oil. Add the pineapple, rice, red chili pepper, cooked pork and shrimp. Toss together until thoroughly mixed and rice is heated through. Make a space in the center of the wok and crack in the egg. Use your spatula to scramble the egg right there in the center of the fried rice until gently cooked. Mix into the rest of the rice.
Add the fish sauce, dark soy sauce, and toss thoroughly. Taste for seasonings, and add salt if desired. Serve in the hollowed out pineapple half. Garnish with chopped roasted cashews and more red chili pepper if you like.