Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thai-Indon Pineapple Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice)

A plate of fried rice is as ubiquitous in South-East Asia as a Big Mac here in the U.S. For this dish, I am combining 2 versions, the Thai pineapple fried rice and the Indonesian version called nasi goreng. And to add a little Malaysian touch to it, I've included some sambal belacan (here's a link on how to make it) as an appetizing and spicy condiment. To many Asian households, fried rice is what one makes when there are leftover food. It is a quick and easy meal and in one fell swoop, it helps get rid of all the leftovers without much fuss. And best of all, the kids can't complain about eating the same old thing yet again!

So let's get to it, shall we?

First, the ingredients:
2 cups jasmine rice (cooked al dente)
1 cup green peas
1 medium-sized carrot (small dice)
1/2 an onion (small dice)
1 medium can diced pineapple
2 jalapeños (sliced thin)
2 cloves garlic (chopped fine)
10 shrimp (or any other protein that you like)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
Soy sauce to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 egg
2 stalks scallions for garnish

Cook the jasmine rice with a little less water than you would normally add. This should keep the rice just a little under-cooked to avoid it becoming mushy when you start frying. Next, fry the egg with a sprinkle of black pepper and salt. Now you are ready to start cooking the fried rice. Heat up the wok with about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Cook the onions until tender, then add the garlic and fry fro another minute or so. Next, add the shrimp, carrot, green peas and pineapple. Cook until the shrimp turns red. Add the rice and all the other sauces and mix the ingredients thoroughly. Taste and season as appropriate. Finally, garnish with the fried egg and scallions before serving. Finally, add a scoop of spicy sambal belacan to finish with some spicy flair!

This version of fried rice provides the distinct tastes of sweetness (pineapple, sweet soy sauce), sourness/tartness (pineapple), spiciness (jalapeño) and saltiness (fish sauce, soy sauce), all essential flavors that typically embody South-East Asian cuisine. Enjoy!

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