This super-easy Thai pineapple fried rice recipe makes a tasty summery tropical fried rice. Tuck into a bowl at home and you can imagine you’re back in Southeast Asia enjoying it at a beachside street food shack with your toes in the sand. Don’t let winter stop you: if you can’t source fresh pineapple, use canned pineapple for a year-round treat.
This Thai pineapple fried rice recipe makes khao pad sapparot, a fragrant fried rice that’s sweet, savoury, gently spiced courtesy of curry powder, and packed with umami thanks to soy sauce, and/or if you prefer, fish sauce. It’s one of the most popular fried rice dishes with travellers to Thailand, as well as Southeast Asia more generally.
Because while I’m sharing the Thai take on the deliciously filling street food dish, this tasty fried rice is also popular in Cambodia and Vietnam. And not only with visitors, it’s just as loved by locals where it’s made at home, particularly on weekends in the countryside during pineapple season.
My Thai pineapple fried rice recipe appears to be the final part of an unplanned trilogy of fried rice recipes I’ve shared this week. I should probably have declared it ‘Fried Rice Week’ on Grantourismo, seeing I posted a classic Korean kimchi fried rice recipe for kimchi bokkeumbap last week and the Indonesian fried rice, nasi goreng, yesterday for our Weekend Eggs series.
Fried rice has helped us to clean out the fridge after a short trip away (as did this old-fashioned vegetable barley soup) and get us through a particularly busy period of work. Who noticed we have a faster Grantourismo with some subtle changes to the design? Hopefully it will result in a better experience for you. We’d love to know what you think.
But before I tell you a bit more about this Thai pineapple fried rice recipe, I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you’ve enjoyed our recipes or other content on the site, please consider supporting Grantourismo. You could buy us a coffee and we’ll use that donation to buy cooking ingredients for recipe testing or contribute to our epic original Cambodian cuisine history and cookbook on Patreon.
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Thai Pineapple Fried Rice Recipe for a Tasty Summery Tropical Fried Rice
Born in China, where the wok was invented, fried rice travelled all over Southeast Asia, so it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that you’ll find similar recipes to this Thai pineapple fried rice recipe in Southeast Asian cookbooks. The recipes generally only differ by an ingredient or three, a technique and in some cases the process.
What might be surprising to some, because they’re so ubiquitous in the cuisines of Southeast Asia, is that pineapples are not native to Asia, but to Latin America. Indigenous to Brazil and Paraguay, pineapples were already cultivated throughout South America and the Caribbean when Italian explorer Christopher Columbus first encountered a pineapple on the island on Guadeloupe (known locally as Gwada), when he landed in 1493.
Pineapples arrived first in Europe with Columbus after his 1492 voyage, as part of a global trade process that became known as the Columbian exchange between the so-called ‘New’ World and Old World that would transform what people grew and raised and how they cooked and ate right around the globe.
It was thanks to Columbus that tomatoes, potatoes, cacao, and vanilla travelled from the New World to the Old World, and onions, citrus fruit, mangoes, bananas, and apples travelled from the Old World to the New World.
Of course, the Italian only sparked the radical transformation of trade, agriculture, diet, and cuisines. From the 16th century, the Portuguese and Spanish continued the work, transporting maize, cassava, sweet potatoes, and chillies from Central and South America to Europe and Asia, and coffee and sugar cane from Asia to Latin America. Now let me tell you how to make this Thai pineapple fried rice recipe.
Tips for Making this Thai Pineapple Fried Rice Recipe
As always, a few essential tips to making this Thai pineapple fried rice recipe, beginning with the rice. As fried rice was created to use up leftover rice, day-old steamed rice that’s been refrigerated is best for this dish. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make this Thai pineapple fried rice recipe if you don’t have leftover rice sitting in the fridge.
Just-cooked rice will go mushy if you attempt to stir-fry it while it’s still warm, however, if you scoop the rice out and loosely spread it out over a large cold tray, such as a stainless steel or aluminium baking tray, and set it aside to cool, it will be perfectly fun. I’ve made fried rice this way countless times and it never clumps together.
I strongly recommend steaming your rice in a rice cooker though, rather than boiling it on the stove, and use jasmine rice, which is best for Southeast Asian dishes. Before you pour the rice into the cooker, transfer it to a fine mesh strainer or colander and hold it under a running tape until the water runs clear.
Two cups of rice makes plenty for two people. You should have leftovers. If you’re serving sides then you could serve smaller bowls, which would feed four. If this is going to serve as a main dish for three or four, add another cup of rice to be safe.
For fried rice, we use our round flat bottomed wok, which is non-stick and light-weight. If you don’t have a wok, you really should get one. We’re going to publish a wok comparison post on the site very soon. Otherwise, use your favourite frying pan or skillet.
Make sure to prep your ingredients and have your seasonings and sauces handy before you turn on the heat, as you’ll need to work quickly once the oil is hot, and stir-fry continuously, taking care not to let the garlic burn or the rice stick.
Once everything is hot, turn off the heat, stir through the finely sliced scallions or spring onions, taste, season if needed, and taste again, and serve immediately. My Thai pineapple fried rice recipe calls for more scallions and spring onions, chilli flakes, and crispy fried shallots. Nuts, such as cashews and fresh coriander also work. Enjoy!
Thai Pineapple Fried Rice Recipe
- 2 cups jasmine rice , steamed
- 2 garlic cloves , finely chopped
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 small onion , peeled and finely diced
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 2 eggs
- ½ tsp white sugar
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 ½ cups pineapple , diced into 1cm pieces
- 2 tbsp scallions/spring onions , finely sliced
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp white pepper
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 2 tbsp crispy fried shallots
- If you don’t have any day-old steamed rice in your fridge, steam 2 cups of rice in a rice cooker; when done, spread the rice out loosely on a tray to cool and set aside.
- Chop garlic with salt by sprinkling a pinch of salt on the chopping board then finely chopping the garlic cloves on the salt.
- In a wok over medium heat, heat the oil and fry the garlic until fragrant and just starting to change colour, taking care not to let it brown or burn, then add the onion and curry powder, combine well and continue to fry until aromatic.
- Crack one egg into the wok and scramble for a minute, add the sugar, light soy sauce, and diced pineapple, and combine well.
- Add the rice, turn down the heat, and stir-fry continually, mixing and tossing, to ensure the rice is covered with the garlic, onion and curry sauce, the pineapple is evenly distributed, and everything is hot.
- Turn off the heat, stir through one tablespoon of the finely sliced scallions/spring onions, taste, and if needed, season with salt and white pepper, and serve immediately. Garnish with the remaining scallions/spring onions and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.
Please do let us know in the comments below if you make our Thai pineapple fried rice recipe as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.