Every so often, I get a hankering for some fried rice. And, though I hate to brag, it’s one of the dishes I’m pretty darn good at making. At least, that’s what my wife tells me. And why would she lie?
But today, I didn’t start off thinking of making fried rice. I started off wondering what I should do with the pineapple my wife had bought about two weeks ago. I knew if we didn’t use it soon, it would start to turn. Brown pineapple has never been a favorite of mine.
As I was holding it in my hand, allowing my mind to chase down memories of food I had eaten in the past that included pineapple, my eyes landed on a butternut squash that has also been waiting its turn to become food. And, since it was a Wednesday and I always challenge myself creatively in the kitchen on Wednesday’s, I thought, why not pair the two?
So, I did. I started grabbing ingredients that I thought would enhance whatever the dish might turn out to be, and by the time I was done, I realized I had nearly everything I typically use for fried rice. Except the rice. So, I grabbed a bag, and started making what turned out to be a very strange combination, but a really flavorful dish! Here’s what I used:
- 1 cup organic white basmati rice
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 TBSP sesame oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 small carrots, diced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 butternut squash, cubed 1/2″ to 3/4″
- 1 head of broccoli, florets only
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 3 TBSP liquid aminos, separated
- 1 TBSP tahini
- 1 TBSP honey
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 24 grape tomatoes
- Salt & pepper to taste
Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Place the rinsed rice in a saucepan along with the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook per package directions. (For this recipe, it’s better if the rice is cold, so this step could be done the day before. If you can’t, then making it at the same time is okay too.)
Add the sesame oil to a large frying pan or wok and heat over medium high until shimmering. Add in the onion and cook until it begins to turn translucent – about 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook 1 minute more, then add the carrots and cook until they are soft – about 3-5 minutes
Next, add the peppers, ginger, curry, and turmeric and cook another 3-5 minutes.
Transfer to a mixing bowl along with the frozen peas and stir to combine. Set aside for now.
Using the same frying pan or wok, cook the butternut squash, using 2 TBSP of the liquid aminos.
Cook until the squash is soft throughout. If necessary, you can add some water or broth to the pan to keep the squash from sticking or burning. While this is cooking, in a small bowl, mix the tahini, honey, and the final 1 TBSP of liquid aminos. Stir to combine, then set aside for now.
Finally, add the onion, carrot and pepper mixture into the pan with the squash and stir to combine. Pour in the tahini, honey and liquid amino sauce and toss again. Scoop the mixture to the sides, creating a cavity in the center of the pan. Add your tomatoes into this cavity, then cover them with the mixture. Add a little water or broth and turn down to simmer. After a few minutes, the tomatoes should ‘pop’. If not, poke any that didn’t with a fork, then smash them to ensure the liquid is out.
Add in your rice and taste. Add salt and pepper if needed. You can also add more liquid aminos if desired. Finally, add in your broccoli and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
The mixture should be a little gooey and sticky. Spoon it onto plates or in bowls and serve. Enjoy!