When I featured a commercial brand of Tum Yum Soup Paste in a recent post, it struck me that the paste, in addition to a number of non-soup applications, might be nice flavor base for fried rice and, since I had half a fresh pineapple, I thought I might combine the two.
Serving fried rice in a pineapple shell is not uncommon, especially in Thai restaurants, and, besides being attractive, it is the sort of dish that permits an almost endless range of permutations. Some of the pineapple flesh is always included of course, and shrimp seems to be quite a popular addition. Sometimes, the rice is very plainly seasoned but I also see Thai curry pastes being used as a flavor base and, for this exercise, the Tom Yum paste should work admirably as well. Instead of shrimp, I am going to use some Cuttlefish flesh I have frozen from a previous purchase, along with black mushrooms, some diced ham, and a little green and red bell pepper…
- ½ of a fresh pineapple (cut lengthwise) with the flesh scooped out;
- 1 ½ – 2 cups cooked Rice;
- ½ cup of the reserved flesh, diced small;
- 2 dried black (Shiitake) Mushrooms, reconstituted and diced;
- ½ cup diced Cuttlefish (use small shrimp, if you like);
- ½ cup, diced Ham (preferable dried Chinese or Smithfield style);
- ¼ cup, finely diced Red Bell Pepper;
- ¼ cup, finely diced Green Bell Pepper;
- 1 tbsp. Tom Yum Soup Paste (or a red Thai Curry Paste).
Here is the hollowed-out half-pineapple along with the flesh I will be using in this recipe. Obviously, this is just a small portion of the total flesh to come from just this half of the fruit but the rest will be put to good use.
Heat a tablespoon or so of oil in a sauté pan over a medium flame, then add the ham, chopped mushroom and red pepper. Stir-fry until you can smell the aroma of the ham.
Now add the cuttlefish, green pepper and the tom yum paste. Stir to coat the rice grains with the paste and let everything get heated well through.
Finally, add the pineapple and continue stirring until it is hot as well and then transfer the contents to your pineapple shell. Garnish as you see fit (I used a few celery leaves and a Thai chili), and then serve immediately.
I thought the dish was attractive (although I probably won’t serve rice this way every day). The main function of the exercise, however, was to test the Tom Yum paste as a fried rice flavor base and, I am happy to say, it worked out very well. The paste would be a great addition to fried rice even on its own but the pineapple complimented the taste especially well. Next time, I think I might vary the other ingredients and possibly add some cashew. Beyond that, though, I am very glad I tried this…