I love quick and easy dinners. Working a full-time job and factoring in daycare drop-offs and pick-ups undoubtedly leaves me strapped for time. Usually I rush in the door at 5:45 p.m. and start throwing supper together immediately. If I’m fortunate, we’ll eat by 7 p.m. So when I find a healthy recipe that I can get on the table in 30 minutes (including prep time), I jump all over it.
If that recipe includes shrimp, cashews and pineapple, even better. Not to mention hot sauce, the darling. I don’t know what it is about the fruit and nut combination that makes me all aflutter, but it works, so I just go with it.
I haven’t made this recipe with anything but shrimp because it’s quick to cook. But it could easily be substituted with chicken, fish or tofu. Heck, it would probably be good without anything. Except you must keep the cashews in. They add that special crunch. And the onions. But then I’m kind of an onion addict. Oh, and the pineapple. We could never leave out the pineapple, since it kind of gives the dish its Thai-ishness aspect. And I suppose fried rice wouldn’t really be fried rice without the rice component. But then again, I’m no culinary expert, so maybe it’s totally doable?
Now, if you are the “traditional” fried rice sort (scrambled eggs, peas, etc.), this Thai variation may not be for you. But then again, it might taste like a party in your mouth and totally blow your mind, so I guess you’ll only know once you’ve tried it.
I found the original recipe in a Fine Cooking magazine and have adapted it to include more shrimp, vegetables and a tiny bit of chicken or vegetable stock to give it a bit of moisture. I find that the amount of stock needed depends entirely on your rice. I’ve also reduced the soy sauce because I found it was a bit salty and I don’t buy a low-sodium version, but again, this might vary depending on the brand you buy. Of course, I also had to replace the cilantro with parsley, because gross. This dish is best with leftover Jasmine rice, which is perfect for me since I never seem to make the correct amount of rice for a meal. Also, did you know that rice freezes awesomely? No? Well, now you do.
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
- ½ red pepper, cut into chunks
- 1 large green onion, thinly slicked
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp chili-garlic sauce
- 3 cups day-old cooked jasmine rice
- ½ cups cubed fresh pineapple
- ¼ to ½ cup vegetable or chicken broth, as needed
- ½ cup whole cashews, toasted
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook, turning once, until pink and opaque, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate.
- Heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil in the same skillet. Add the onion and red pepper and cook, stirring frequently until browned on the edges, but not completely soft, about 2 minutes. Add the green onion and cook until browned and wilted, about 30 seconds.
- Add the garlic, fish sauce, and chili-garlic sauce and cook, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir to break up any clumps. Add just enough vegetable or chicken broth to moisten and cook, stirring until the mixture is well combined and heated through, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the shrimp and their juices, pineapple, cashews and soy sauce. Remove from heat, stir in the parsley and serve.