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Pineapple Fried Jasmine Rice (Khao Phat Supparot)

Pineapple Fried Jasmine Rice (Khao Phat Supparot)
Although any long-grain white rice can be used for Thai fried rice, jasmine rice is considered the best. Thais love the scent of a particular variety of jasmine flower called mali. While so-called jasmine rice does not carry the true scent of that bloom or of any fragrant flower, it does release a seductive perfume. It is because of the kernels' heady fragrance that the rice has been awarded the highest compliment by being given the name of the much-admired flower.

Crab paste in soybean sauce, which is sold in jars in Thai or Southeast Asian markets, adds a rich, savory essence to the dish.

To make fried shallots, slice cloves into very thin, uniform slices, then separate the slices. In a small fry pan over medium heat, pour in vegetable oil to a depth of 1 inch and heat to 325°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Add the slices and fry until light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper bag.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pineapple
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half, cut
      into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. crab paste in soybean sauce (see
      note)
  • 2 Tbs. tomato ketchup
  • 3 green onions, including 1 inch of the tender
      green portion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups cold cooked long-grain jasmine rice,
      crushed gently to break up any clumps
  • 2 Tbs. fish sauce
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
  • 1 Tbs. fried shallots (see note)

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Cut the pineapple in half lengthwise. Hollow out each half, leaving the shells intact and setting the pineapple pulp aside. Put the shells, hollow side up, on a baking sheet and bake until the excess moisture has dried out, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set the shells aside.

Meanwhile, coarsely chop enough of the reserved pineapple pulp to measure 1 cup. Set aside. Reserve the remaining pulp for another use.

Preheat a wok or deep-fry pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil, salt and garlic and stir-fry until the garlic is light golden brown, about 30 seconds. Increase the heat to high, add the shrimp and chicken, and stir-fry until the shrimp turn bright orange-pink and the chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Crack the eggs into the pan over the shrimp and chicken and break up the yolks with the tip of a spatula. Cook the eggs, without stirring, until set, about 30 seconds. When the whites turn opaque, add the crab paste and ketchup, stir once or twice, then toss in the green onions, cooked rice and fish sauce. Break up any remaining clumps of rice and stir-fry to mix and evenly season the rice and to heat it through, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved chopped pineapple pulp and toss and stir to heat through, about 1 minute.

Transfer the rice mixture to the pineapple shells, heaping it attractively. Garnish with cilantro leaves and fried shallots. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Southeast Asia, by Joyce Jue (Time-Life Books, 2000).