Good food finds you in the oddest of places. This meal was inspired by an incredible plate of red curry fried rice that we ate in…wait for it…Puerto Vallarta. Yup, we were the incredible losers eating Thai food on the beach in Mexico, but that’s besides the point. I could launch into a whole explanation about how it was the last day of our trip, and our tastebuds were looking for something different…but, you know, still besides the point.
Aaaanyway, this red curry fried rice, odd location notwithstanding, was something amazing. It had crunch, it had color, it had big chunks of pineapple (something I usually swear I hate in savory dishes), and it hit the spot in every way. I’ve been plotting a version of my own ever since. This one comes pretty close. It’s a great weeknight meal if you have some rice from your local Chinese takeout sitting in the fridge. In fact, day-old rice is actually what you want here. If you don’t have time for rice-aging and so forth, just boil a pot of rice the morning of, leave it to cool on your stovetop, lid still on, and it will remind you when you get home that red curry fried rice is just 30 minutes away.
Red Curry Fried Rice with Pineapple and Tofu
recipe adapted from Herbivoracious
1.5 cups fresh pineapple, cut into bite sized chunks
one 14 oz package of extra firm tofu, well drained and cut into ½ inch cubes
½ cup green beans, cut into one inch pieces
4-5 ears of baby corn, cut into one inch pieces (or ½ cup corn kernels)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 small white onion, diced
2 – 4 tablespoons red curry paste (to taste)
4 cups cooked and cooled jasmine or basmati rice (day-old is great)
salt to taste
cilantro or green onion for garnish
In boiling salted water, blanch the green beans and corn for two minutes. Drain.
Heat a large skillet or wok over a very high flame. Without any oil, sear the pineapple for a few minutes, until it gets at least some brown spots and the flavor intensifies. Remove from pan.
In the same pan, sear the cubed tofu for a few minutes, tossing so all sides get slightly golden. I don’t use oil for this, but you could add up to a tsp of oil to the hot pan before adding the tofu if you prefer. Remove from pan.
Add the oil, and a few seconds later the onion. Cook for 30 seconds. Have the rice ready to go. Add the curry paste, and fry for 10 seconds. Add the rice, and break up the chunks, stirring through the curry paste. Add 1 teaspoon of salt.
Continue to cook, stirring occasionally for a few minutes. It tastes best if some of the rice is allowed to get brown and crispy.
Add back in the pineapple, tofu, green beans and corn. Stir through to reheat. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with cilantro or green onion.