If you’ve never tried grilling fresh pineapple until lightly charred, I urge you to do it soon. The flavor, the aroma, the texture… The caramelization does things to pineapple that make it so appetizing on a whole new level. And, if you want to maximize the smoky sweetness by combining it with the heat of chilies, try making chili chicken fried rice with grilled pineapple. It’s amazing!
Grilled pineapple? Won’t the pineapple disintegrate in the heat? No, unless you keep fiddling and moving them around. Don’t. Lay chunks of pineapple on the grill, leave without touching until the undersides are browned, flip one, grill the other side and, presto!
Truth be told, I’m not even a fan of pineapple. When I cooked this chili chicken fried rice with grilled pineapple the other day, Speedy remarked that the only fruit I eat with gusto is mango. I don’t even like papaya, he said, and I rarely touch the bananas that are almost always present on the dining table. I eat grapes, I retorted, and I love melons too (well, except watermelon which I eat but would rather liquefy as a drink). And I do adore strawberries.
But grilled pineapple… ahhhh, it was almost like stepping into a whole new world for me. Even Alex, who’s not a pineapple lover either, remarked that there weren’t enough pineapple chunks in the fried rice. Imagine that! Note to self: next time, add twice as much grilled pineapple chunks.
- 6 chicken thigh fillets
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon grated ginger
- ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 to 3 bird's eye chilies, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 to 3 wedges of fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
- 2 shallots, roughly chopped (see guide)
- 1 small carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
- a handful of snap peas or snow peas, trimmed and cut into halves if large
- 3 cups day-old rice
- finely sliced scallions, to garnish
- Cut the chicken thigh fillets into one-inch cubes. Place in a bowl. Add the fish sauce, grated ginger, minced garlic and finely chopped chilies. Mix well. Set aside.
- Pan-grill the pineapple chunks. Take a little cooking oil and brush on the bottom of a non-stick frying pan. Spread the pineapple chunks in a single layer. Brown the undersides over high heat, about two minutes. Flip them over and brown the opposite side. Scoop out, move to a plate and set aside.
- Heat the remaining cooking oil in the frying pan. Add the chicken cubes with all the marinade. Stir fry for about five minutes.
- Add the shallots and carrot slices. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Stir fry for a minute. Add the snap peas, sprinkle with salt and pepper once more, and stir fry for another minute.
- Add the rice. Sprinkle in more salt and pepper. Stir fry until the rice is heated through.
- Add the pineapple chunks and toss a few times. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Transfer the chili chicken fried rice with grilled pineapple to a serving plate. Sprinkle with sliced scallions before serving.