Leftovers are always a blessing. I like to cook a little more chicken, rice, or potatoes whenever I can because they have so many uses. Fried rice is one of my favorite dishes. It used to be for a quick and easy lunch but now as my kids get older they seem to need it after school, rugby practice or swimming. Their appetites seem insatiable as they grow, my eldest being only 10 years old.
A bowl of brown rice with added protein such as eggs or chicken is the perfect fuel. They also like the small cubes of fried chorizo and a can of mixed red beans. It is an easy to prepare and nutritious fast food.
For this dish, I’m changing up our usual fried rice and bringing in Caribbean flavors with Scotch Bonnet peppers, allspice, thyme, and juicy fresh pineapple. It’s a bright summer take on a family favorite.
You can use canned pineapple for this, or keep an eye on the freezer section for frozen pineapple, it’s so much more enjoyable. If you get fresh pineapple, it’s always fun to make the most of it and scoop out the fruit to make a pineapple boat. It’s a wonderful way to serve this rice, or store it for sorbet, fruit salad or ice cream.
Go the extra mile and use pineapple skin to make tepache, a Mexican fermented drink. It is very simple to make and requires only a few days of fermentation by placing the skins in sugar water. You are rewarded with a bubbly, probiotic-rich version of Lilt. I always do this if I get an organic pineapple and it’s great fun. There are many recipes online and I recommend serving it chilled with crushed mint.
To make the pineapple boat, cut the fruit in half, then use a small paring knife to cut out the fruit inside. Leave at least a half inch as a rim around the edge to form your bowls. Or simply remove the top of the fruit to make a larger bowl.
Scotch Bonnet peppers are named for their shape, resembling the traditional Scottish Tam o’Shanter hat. They are spicy and slightly sweet, giving Caribbean dishes their unique flavor. If you can’t find them, try using habanero, jalapeños, or chili flakes. They won’t be the same but will give off that spicy heat.
This fried rice is a super convenient one-pot dish that requires very little cooking time and minimal cleanup. It’s great for busy weeknights and can be eaten from bowls outdoors, enjoying those longer evenings as it warms up.
Recipe: Caribbean style fried rice