Monday, January 26, 2009

Pineapple Fried Rice

Ah... pineapples! The symbol of hospitality and probably an icon of Hawaii. Here, you buy a pineapple every week for 6 months and then you never have to buy another pineapple again, because you just stick the top of the pineapple in the soil and it grows and produces another pineapple! What a place to live!

OK... so we have an abundance of pineapple here... and it is wonderful stuff. My favorite are the white pineapples, really lovely flavor and beautiful too. The white pineapples are a bit more expensive here, but all in all, pineapples are available at every farmer's market and grocery store as well as in many gardens and yards. Pineapples are a real value for what they provide. I love them raw and fresh, in kabobs, smoothies and as a sweet addition to many dishes. My favorite way is grilled, where the flavors come to their peak through caramelizing. In my quest to start my own pineapple garden, I have been buying one a week and doing different things with it. Last night I made pineapple fried rice. Since I only made it for the two of us, I did not do it in the shell as the following recipe suggests, but if you are doing it for more people, it is a great way to serve it. You can see by the pictures that our container (household goods moved from California) has not yet arrived here. We only have our outdoor dining dishes (melamine) that I sent over ahead of time. Here is the recipe:

Hawaiian Pineapple Sitr Fried Rice
© Devany Vickery-Davidson, Dinner Party Cooking School

I took Ming Tsai’s basic Fried Rice recipe from the cookbook, Breath of A Wok by Grace Young and Aland Richardson and “Hawaiianized” it for this classic Hawaiian treatment of the Hawaiian staple of rice. In Hawaii, rice is served with every meal, even breakfast. At lunch & dinner it is commonly served even when other starches are present. Rice is also one of the few foods so important to the Hawaiian diet that is not grown/harvested in Hawaii. Fried Rice was the first recipe that Ming learned as a 10 year old boy in his mother’s restaurant, the Mandrin Kitchen in Dayton, Ohio. Interestingly, my husband grew up in Dayton and remembers going there as a young adult on dates! Talk about a small world. You can also add “leftovers” in this recipe. I often add fresh water chestnuts, slivered carrots, diced red peppers, bean sprouts, mushrooms, small shrimp, tofu celery etc. Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish or 2 people as an entrĂ©e Ingredients:

A fresh medium sized ripe pineapple
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon palm sugar, brown sugar or sugar in the raw

4 cups of cold leftover rice ( I generally use Brown Jasmine or Basamati but this can be done with any rice except sweet rice or sushi rice)

2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 large eggs beaten
1 Chinese Sausage (Lop Chung) or Chinese Red Pork (Char Siu), cut into 1/8 inch dice *see note4 scallions sliced on the diagonal
2 large shallots or 1 Maui onion finely chopped
¾ cup frozen peas2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 Hawaiian hot chile peppers or 1 red Thai chile or Serano chile, finely diced.
¼ cup Chinese Celery tops (omit if you cannot find this)1 tablespoons of fish sauce
2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce2 tablespoons of palm sugar, brown sugar or sugar in the raw (divided)
¼ teaspoon white pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

½ cup toasted chopped macadamia nuts

Method: 1. Cut the pineapple in half lengthwise, and scoop out the fruit. You can use a pineapple cutter or a curved grapefruit knife. Reserve ½ of the pineapple meat and cut the remaining pineapple into chunks about ¾ of an inch in size.
2. Brush the inside of the two pineapple halves with oil or spray with cooking spray. Place in a 375 degree oven or on a grill inside facing down till the pineapple starts to brown slightly (about 10 minutes).
3. In a large bowl place the pineapple and ginger. Stir in 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Stir. This brings out the juices in the pineapple and ginger.

4. Heat a large flat bottomed wok or skillet until a bead of water vaporizes within 1-2 seconds of contact. Stir in one tablespoon of the canola oil and one tablespoon of the sesame oil. Add the eggs and 30 seconds to one minute till the egg has set, swirling the pan so that you get a flat pancake of egg. Transfer the egg to a cutting board and cut into strips. Reserve.

5. Swirl in the remaining two oils and turn up the heat to high. Add garlic, chili peppers, Chinese celery, shallots and stir fry 30 seconds. Add the Chinese Sausage or Char Siu. Stir fry for 1 minute. Add peas, scallions, rice, pineapple/ginger mixture and stir fry another minute.
6. Combine fish sauce., remaining sugar and soy sauce and add to the stir fry. Toss in egg shreds and cilantro. Sprinkle with white pepper and taste. Adjust if needed. 7) Pour the mixture into the pineapple shells. Keep warm in a 250 degree oven till ready to serve. I feel that warming the rice in the pineapple adds additional flavors.

8) Garnish with the mac nuts.
* NOTE: Other protein can be used in place or in addition to the Chinese Sausage, but I believe that pork adds the best flavor. The sausages are available at Chinese Markets/Butcher Shops and look like a small dry skinny salami. You can also use Chinese “Red Pork” Char Siu. Or smoked ham or bacon for this. I personally like the Char Siu best and found it easily in Hawaii. You could also use smoked turkey legs or even leftover smoked chicken if you are on a diet.

Here is a little information on this lovely fruit...

Ananas comosus
BromeliaceaeCommon Names: Pineapple, Ananas, Nanas, Pina.
Related Species: Pina de Playon (Ananas bracteatus).
Distant affinity: Pingwing (Aechmea magdalenae), Pinguin (Bromelia pinguin), Pinuela (Karatas plumier).
Origin: The pineapple is native to southern Brazil and Paraguay where wild relatives occur. It was spread by the Indians up through South and Central America to the West Indies before Columbus arrived. In 1493 Columbus found the fruit on the island of Guadaloupe and carried it back to Spain and it was spread around the world on sailing ships that carried it for protection against scurvy. The Spanish introduced it into the Philippines and may have taken it to Hawaii and Guam early in the 16th Century. The pineapple reached England in 1660 and began to be grown in greenhouses for its fruit around 1720.

Adaptation: The pineapples is a tropical or near-tropical plant, but will usually tolerate brief exposures to 28° F. Prolonged cold above freezing retards growth, delays maturity and causes the fruit to be more acid. Pineapples are drought-tolerant and will produce fruit under yearly precipitation rates ranging from 25 - 150 in., depending on cultivar and location and degree of atmospheric humidity. They are successfully grown in southern Florida and coastal areas of southern California. The small plant adapts well to container and greenhouse culture and makes an interesting potted plant.

DESCRIPTIONGrowth Habit: The pineapple plant is a herbaceous perennial, 2-1/2 to 5 ft. high with a spread of 3 to 4 ft. It is essentially a short, stout stem with a rosette of waxy, straplike leaves.

Foliage: The long-pointed leaves are 20 - 72 in. in length, usually needle tipped and generally bearing sharp, upcurved spines on the margins. They may be all green or variously striped with red, yellow or ivory down the middle or near the margins. As the stem continues to grow, it acquires at its apex a compact tuft of stiff, short leaves called the crown or top. Occasionally a plant may bear 2 or more heads instead of the normal one.

Flowers: At blooming time, the stem elongates and enlarges near the apex and puts forth an inflorescence of small purple or red flowers. The flowers are pollinated by humming-birds, and these flowers usually develop small, hard seeds. Seeds are generally not found in commercially grown pineapple.

Fruit: The oval to cylindrical-shaped, compound fruit develops from many small fruits fused together. It is both juicy and fleshy with the stem serving as the fibrous core. The tough, waxy rind may be dark green, yellow, orange-yellow or reddish when the fruit is ripe. The flesh ranges from nearly white to yellow. In size the fruits are up to 12 in. long and weigh 1 to 10 pounds or more.


Location: Pineapples should be planted where the temperature remains warmest, such as the south side of a home, or in a sunny portion of the garden.
Soil: The best soil for the pineapple is a friable, well-drained sandy loam with a high organic content. The pH should be within a range of 4.5 to 6.5. Soils that are not sufficiently acid can be treated with sulfur to achieve the desired level. The plant cannot stand waterlogging and if there is an impervious subsoil, drainage needs to be improved.

Irrigation: The plant is surprisingly drought tolerant, but adequate soil moisture is necessary for good fruit production.

Fertilization: Nitrogen is essential to increase fruit size and total yield, which should be added every four months. Spraying with a urea solution is another way to supply nitrogen. Fruit weight has also been increased by the addition of magnesium. Of the minor elements, iron is the most important, particularly in high pH soils. Iron may be supplied by foliar sprays of ferrous sulfate.

Frost Protection: Pineapple plants require a frost-free environment. They are small enough to be easily covered when frost threatens, but cold weather adversely affects the fruit quality.
Propagation: Pineapples are propagated by new vegetative growth. There are four general types: slips that arise from the stalk below the fruit, suckers that originate at the axils or leaves, crowns that grow from the top of the fruits, and ratoons that come out from the under-ground portions of the stems.

Although slips and suckers are preferred, crowns are the main planting material of home gardeners. These are obtained from store-bought fruit and are removed from the fruit by twisting the crown until it comes free. The crown may be quartered to produce four slips, in California's marginal conditions it is best not to cut or divide the crown. In Hawaii, go for it. The bottom leaves are removed and the crown is left to dry for two days, then planted or started in water.

Pineapples are planted outside during the summer months. Traditionally, plants are spaced 12 inches apart. Set crowns about 2 inches deep; suckers and slips 3 to 4 inches deep.

Pests and diseases: Mealybugs spread by ants can be a problem. Controling the ants will control the mealybugs. In most commercial growing areas, nematodes, mites and beetles can also be damaging.

Harvest: It is difficult to tell when the pineapple is ready to be harvested. Some people judge ripeness and quality by snapping a finger against the side of the fruit. A good, ripe fruit has a dull, solid sound. Immaturity and poor quality are indicated by a hollow thud. The fruit should be stored at 45° F or above, but should be stored for no longer than 4 - 6 weeks.

A compact 2-3 lb. Hawaiian variant of the Smooth Cayenne. The fruit is more cylindrical and produces many suckers but no slips.

Kona Sugarloaf
5-6 lbs, white flesh with no woodiness in the center. Cylindrical in shape, it has a high sugar content but no acid. An incredibly delicious fruit.

Natal Queen
2-3 lbs, golden yellow flesh, crisp texture and delicate mild flavor. Well adapted to fresh consumption. Keeps well after ripening. Leaves spiny.

Pernambuco (Eleuthera)
2-4 lbs with pale yellow to white flesh. Sweet, melting and excellent for eating fresh. Poorly adapted for shipping. Leaves spiny.

Red Spanish
2-4 lbs, pale yellow flesh with pleasant aroma; squarish in shape. Well adapted for shipping as fresh fruit to distant markets. Leaves spiny.

Smooth Cayenne
5-6 lbs, pale yellow to yellow flesh. Cylindrical in shape and with high sugar and acid content. Well adapted to canning and processing. Leaves without spines. This is the variety from Hawaii, and the most easily obtainable in U. S. grocery stores.


Connie Lou said...

Love your retro prints, especially "miss pineapple" so cute. Thanks for the fried rice recipe, I will try it.
Every family has a different recipe, but like Portuguese Bean Soup, they are all ono!

adsdasdadaddasdasdadadas said...

Where have all the Ananas magdalenae gone? i.e. strong towers highly favored of God.
Very unlike the Tower of Babel.

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