Michael's away for his usual mid-winter conference. It's a good time to make recipes that he wouldn't like. This one, for example, is a savoury dish with pineapple in it - a complete dealbreaker for the other half of where's the beef?.
I actually had some organic tinned pineapple in the fridge, having resolutely bought it for my half of a pizza night. (Incidentally, I can definitely recommend the fancy organic tinned pineapple - it's much tangier and toothier than the usual supermarket stuff.) In fact, I had everything I wanted to adapt Heidi Swanson's pineapple rice recipe right at home.
And it's definitely an adaptation. I wanted my pineapple chunky, not blended into the dressing, and I fried my garlic instead of leaving it raw. I'm no fan of raw onions either, and elected to replace the green onions and shallots with a sprinkling of fried shallots. All up, my recipe's more a fried rice than rice salad and that's the way I like it - hearty brown rice dressed with tamari and a little sesame oil, studded with browned seitan pieces and juicy pinapple, topped with crunchy cashews and fried shallots. I could almost be back at the Japanese-Hawai'ian Olu'Olu Cafe with a bowl like this.
Pineapple fried rice
(adapted from a recipe on 101 Cookbooks)
1 cup brown rice
2 cups water
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup pineapple juice
pinch of chilli flakes
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2/3 cup seitan, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pineapple pieces
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 cup roasted cashews
1/4 cup fried shallots
Place the rice and water in a small saucepan, cover with a lid and set them over high heat. When the rice begins to boil, turn down the heat to the lowest setting and cook until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes. Bring the rice to room temperature - I refrigerated mine overnight and then set it on the bench about an hour before I wanted to eat.
In a small jar or bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, pineapple juice, chilli flakes and tamari. Set them aside.
Set a large frypan or wok over high heat and add the sunflower oil. When the oil is hot, add the seitan and stir-fry it until it's beginning to brown. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry for another 30-60 seconds. Add the pineapple pieces and let them sear a little before stirring them around. Add the rice, using your spatula to break down any big clumps, and stir-fry it. In the minute before you're ready to serve the rice, stir in the spinach leaves and the cashews, allowing the spinach to wilt a little. Serve the rice sprinkled with fried shallots.