Tropical Fried Rice
Right before the whole world got quarantined we bought our very first home and moved. We just moved across town, but moving while pregnant and chasing after a very active toddler was still an ordeal! And I do miss some of the things we left behind in our old neighborhood, especially our favorite Asian take-out restaurant. I mean, they sold 4 egg rolls for $1 (and they were good!). You just can’t beat that. And they made tropical fried rice, which was always my go-to order.
So, now that we live further away I knew I needed to figure out how to make my favorite take-out at home. Although I obviously don’t have their recipe, I had ordered the tropical fried rice enough times to know basically what is in it. Shrimp, chicken, pineapple, rice, veggies, and the best part – cashews. So, so yummy! Plus, if you make it at home you can add as many cashews as you want, which was always my one complaint – not enough cashews.
Plus, this recipe is super customizable. You can easily make it gluten free (just sub in coconut aminos for the soy sauce), vegetarian/vegan (sub in tofu for the meat and if you’re vegan, omit the egg), or low carb (sub in cauliflower rice for the jasmine rice). We found that cooking the rice in the coconut milk gave it just enough of a coconut taste without overpowering it, but if you’re really opposed to all coconut you can definitely use broth (chicken or veggie) or just use water. Also, the Chinese 5 spice is a very strong flavor so use it sparingly (1 t. was more than enough). If you don’t have Chinese 5 spice you can simply omit it, the rice will still be just as delicious without it. But, if you can get your hands on some it really does take the recipe to the next level!
One of the best parts of this recipe is that it comes together pretty quickly. Especially if you do some meal prep the night (or weekend) before. You can absolutely:
- Make the rice ahead of time (on the weekend or the night before)
- Cut up the chicken the night before
- Peel and devein the shrimp the night before
- Chop up your veggies on the weekend or the night before
And suddenly a dish that takes about 45 minutes to prepare is a 30 minute or less dinner!
Tropical Fried Rice
- 1 c jasmine rice rinsed
- 2 c coconut milk
- 1/4 c coconut oil
- 2 chicken breasts butterflied
- 1 t Chinese 5 spice
- salt to taste
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 T fresh ginger minced
- 2 T soy sauce
- 1 c raw shrimp about 12 to 14 shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 c fresh pineapple chopped, about 1 pineapple
- 1 c grape tomatoes quartered
- 1 c cashews lightly toasted
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 c scallions OR cilantro roughly chopped
- In a large pot heat coconut milk over high to bring to a boil. Add jasmine rice and immediately turn down heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
- In a large skillet heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with the Chinese 5 spice and a little salt. Cook chicken breasts 6 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Set aside. While chicken is cooking this is a great time to dice and chop the other ingredients!
- Turn the heat under the skillet down to medium. Add in chopped onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook about 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping up any crispy brown bits left by the chicken, or until onion is pearly and translucent and spices are fragrant. While these veggies are cooking chop up the chicken.
- Scrape all the veggies from the onion mixture in the saucepan along with the oil into the large pot of rice. Add chicken and soy sauce to the rice mixture and stir. Return to the cooktop and cook over medium heat, stirring infrequently to allow rice mixture to "fry". Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add raw shrimp, pineapple chunks, tomatoes, and toasted cashews. Continue cooking for about 10 to 15 minutes more, or until shrimp is cooked through, stirring infrequently to allow rice mixture to brown/fry.
- While rice is cooking, scramble the 2 eggs in a small bowl. Add to the saucepan and cook over medium heat. I find it is best to cook the eggs like you would an omelette - let the eggs spread out and cook on one side in a giant circle and then flip. This way you can easily chop them up to add them to the rice. Once the eggs are cooked, chop roughly and add to the rice mixture. Top with green onions or cilantro (or both!) and enjoy!
- NOTE: To make this gluten-free sub in coconut aminos for the soy sauce.
- NOTE: To make this vegetarian sub in firm tofu for the chicken and shrimp. Use 1 block of tofu that has been under a tofu press for 30 minutes to 1 hour to remove moisture. Dice, season with Chinese 5 spice, and cook in coconut oil over medium heat until lightly crisped. Follow rest of the recipe omitting the shrimp.
- NOTE: To make this vegan sub in tofu for chicken (see note above) and omit the egg.
- NOTE: This recipe can be prepped ahead of time. Cook the rice and keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. Cook the chicken, onions, garlic, and ginger ahead of time and store, with the coconut oil, in the fridge for up to 1 week. Allow rice and chicken mixtures to come to room temperature before cooking. Follow remaining directions as written.
Now I just need to figure out how to make cheap and delicious egg rolls.
If you make this tropical fried rice…
Please share your results – leave a comment below and post a photo on Instagram with #braisedinakitch