You've read my ramblings about how my Southern heritage and my husband's Midwest background has brought a lot of love into my kitchen. But one thing that I don't write much about is my love for the foods of the Pacific Islands (Oahu to be specific) where I spent a few years when I was little. I can still remember our visits to the Dole Plantation. There was an employee there that would make origami cranes out of Dole packaging paper. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.
But the best part of the Dole visit was walking through the pineapple farms. It was like walking through a row-field of giant tropical thistles. The sweet pineapple tasting at the end of the tours was a highlight, as well. Needless to say, that is where my love of pineapples came from.
Another Hawaiian favorite is Spam...cue the screeching sound of culinary brakes. Seriously, I'm not going there. Encased meats--yes! Canned meats--no! How is it that something that is manufactured in Minnesota, is a staple in the Pacific grocery isle🤔? I'll save that one for later. But when hearing the word Spam, I can't help think of ham. And I think it is safe to say that at this time of the year, the majority of us all have a little bit of leftover ham in the refrigerator.
Ok, time to get to the "Hawaiian" recipe.
Sweet & Savory✓
Easy for entertaining✓
Many recipes for Hawaiian Fried Rice like to simply add the fresh cut pineapple to the fried rice, but like my Hawaiian Pizza, I like to take it one step further and caramelize the pineapple. It really brings out a deep, almost smokey flavor to the pineapple, as well as reducing the moisture to the rice dish, which would make a gummy mess if you have any leftovers. *Note--there will not be any leftovers, so make two batches😉.
The real beauty of this one-skillet dish is the versatility. Allergic to eggs? Leave them out. Don't have red bell pepper? Use shredded carrots and peas. Cutting back carbs? Try cauliflower "rice" and tell me how it works out!! I love cauliflower. Don't like onion? What's wrong with you?? I can't promise that it'll taste the same as the one pictured and devoured, but...
Make it for you, make it your own!
Hawaiian Fried Rice
3 Tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 Tablespoon Sriracha sauce, or to taste
2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoons Safflower oil, divided
1 generous cup (about 8-ounces) chopped ham
1 red bell pepper, stemmed seeded, and cut into a small dice
6 scallions, white parts minced, and green parts sliced thinly on the diagonal
1 small yellow onion, cut into a small dice
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
4 cups cooked long-grain white rice, at room temperature
2 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups 1/2-inch fresh pineapple pieces
Sambal Oelek to taste (optional)
In a small bowl, combine the say sauce, sesame oil, and Sriracha; set aside.
In a medium non-stick dry skillet, lay the pineapple in a single layer. Heat over medium-high heat until the underside is lightly caramelized, about 5-7 minutes. Turn the slices of pineapple over and turn off the heat. Allow the pineapple to rest in the pan until the sizzling subsides. Transfer the pineapple to a small plate; set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add red bell pepper, scallion whites, onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 5-7 minutes. Add ham and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a plate.
Heat another tablespoon of oil in now-empt skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add rice and cook, breaking up clumps with a wooden spoon or spatial, until lightly browned on the bottom, about 5-6 minutes. Stir breaking up bottom, and cook until completely heated through, about another 3 minutes.
Push rice to one side of the skillet and add remaining teaspoon of oil to empty side of skillet. Add eggs to oiled side of skillet and cook, stirring, until set, about 30 seconds. Incorporate eggs into rice and ham mixture. Stir soy sauce mixture into rice until thoroughly combined. Off heat, stir in pineapple and scallion greens. Serve immediately with Sambal Oelek to taste. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Cook's Country, April/May 2013