When Angie over at Fiesta Friday challenged other food bloggers to create a healthy dish this month, I was all set. See I’ve been making so many marvelous healthy dishes with cauliflower this month (I just can’t seem to get enough of it – maybe I’m lacking some trace mineral it has) that I thought I could just slide a recipe right by her.
But no. Angie had some kind of crazy idea. Make the healthy dish with Pineapple and Greens. Whaaaaat? Noooo, Angie! Cauliflower is the way to go, cauliflower, girl!! But I kept thinking and thinking and trying recipes in my mind. I seem to have a “taste memory” in the same way artists can recreate a picture memory. Do you do that? Some people can and some can’t. It’s weird.
But I knew this couldn’t be just an ordinary “make a dish and toss some greens into it” type of recipe. The greens have to be a cohesive part of the dish and just as delish as the rest. I narrowed it down to little steamed collard packets with kind of Hawaiian flair and Thai Pineapple Fried Rice with Kale. You can see what won out! And I got compliments on the kale in this dish, so I’m glad I picked it.
You always have to be careful when making fried rice not to introduce too much liquid or you’ll end up with mush, and greens need a bit of steam of some sort to get them going. So I did a nice saute of the greens with some aromatics, covered them for a quick steam, then removed the greens and placed them aside on a paper towel.
I proceeded with the rest of the recipe, then rolled the greens up in the paper towel and gave them a quick squeeze. Back in they went, all was scooped into my hollowed out pineapple, garnished with cucumber, lime and cashews. It was a bit of a masterpiece, if I do say so myself…I felt kinda all exotic in my kitchen for just a minute or two. Excuse me, waiter, can I have a Mai Tai over here?
I made this very simple and didn’t use any additional protein like shrimp or chicken. You could certainly add leftover chicken, diced or shredded, or marinate a chicken breast or thigh or add some shrimp if you’d like. Cook the shrimp or chicken first, then set aside and proceed with the rest of the recipe. I also used jalapeno because I couldn’t find any Thai chili peppers – it seemed just fine. Fried rice is always adaptable. Cabbage, red or green, bell peppers, green onion, and all kinds of vegetables could be added or substituted, here.
January is a wonderful time to buy pineapple if you’re in the US. The prices drop drastically and the pineapples are gorgeous. Try Aldi if you have one nearby – you’ll find pineapples for a pittance. I buy a lot of my nuts there, too, including the cashews for this recipe.
Thai Pineapple Fried Rice with Kale
- 1 pineapple, sliced in half, most of the flesh removed, 1 cup of pineapple reserved for this recipe, the rest for something else
- 2 tablespoons oil, divided, plus a little to cook the cashews in
- 1 onion or 3 shallots, finely diced
- 1 Thai chili pepper, minced, or 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
- 2 bunches of kale, hard stems removed and sliced about 1″
- 2 eggs
- 2 – 3 cups cold rice, cooked the day before is best
- 1 cup pineapple pieces, 1/2 x 1″, reserved from hollowed out pineapple
- 1/2 cup golden raisins, optional
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 to 1 1/2 tablespoons white pepper
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons dark soy
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup cashews, toasted, for garnish (see below)
- 1 lime, sliced in wedges, for garnish
- cucumber slices, for garnish
Set aside pineapple halves, upside down on a plate to drain.
Heat oil in a large skillet or wok. Add onion or shallots and hot pepper and saute until nearly softened. Add kale and stir for a minute, reduce heat, add a lid and steam for several minutes. Remove kale, leaving onion and jalapeno behind (no need to be perfect) and place kale on several layers of paper towel.
To the skillet, add the last tablespoon oil, then add the eggs. Leave for a minute until they’ve just started to set up, then stir. While still very moist, turn up the heat, add the rice and toss and stir as the rice heats. Push the rice aside and add the pineapple, stirring just until a bit of color is picked up. Add in the raisins if using.
Add the seasonings: the white pepper, curry powder, fish sauce and soy sauce. Taste, add salt if desired. Continue to toss and stir until rice appears nearly dry again, 1 to 2 minutes.
Roll the greens in the paper towels and gently squeeze. Add the greens back to the rice, toss together as they warm through. Remove from heat, fill the pineapple shells with the mixture and garnish with chopped cashews. Serve with cucumber and lime.
Note: If your pan isn’t very large, it’s best to make two batches rather than overcrowd the pan.
Cashews: Toast the cashews in a bit of oil over a high heat, stirring and shaking constantly until they pick up a tinge of color. Remove from hot pan immediately onto paper towels to drain. Lightly chop.
So proud to be featured on Fiesta Friday’s Challenge!