It's been a long, long, long time since I've had junky Chinese takeaway. I never had it often as I was too terrified of the food being spiked with MSG. Even though I have been riding the health train for some time, once in a while I get cravings for old favourites. Here's where fried rice enters the party. As you may have noticed of late, where once I couldn't scrape together an entrée recipe for months at a time, now that we have our son joining us at the table, if it's one pot, easy to make and gets on the table quickly, we're winning. And this recipe has quickly become a family and Finley favourite!
There used to be this very strange vegan restaurant in Toronto called Veg Loving Hut. It closed a few years ago but there still seem to be restaurants that are part of the same chain around the world, though all have very different menus. The Toronto version had the closest thing we could come to junky Chinese takeaway, though they claimed to be all organic and whole food based. There were plastic banquets, fluorescent lighting, bad art, really odd videos of the owner preaching that played on an old TV, and the people working there may or may not have actually just been volunteers. Why am I telling you this? Because they had a fried rice dish that was amazing. Since they closed, we've been living in a fried rice desert. Until today!
I had thought about making this for a while but didn't want to use canned pineapple, and frozen organic can be hard to find as can fresh organic. Also, eating fresh pineapple in Toronto in the winter feels like a bit of an indulgent choice, given what it takes to get one of these here. For those reasons, this is a once in a while treat kind of meal, and what a treat it is.
Another ingredient that makes this dish extra awesome is the fish sauce. (For vegans, there is an UnFish sauce recipe in my cookbook.) It took a while to find a fish sauce that just used plain and simple ingredients. I love the Red Boat Fish Sauce that comes from Vietnam, which uses a traditional fermentation process. There is nothing else added to it, and it adds a deep flavour to this dish. It's not an essential ingredient but does help add that umami flavour that makes a stir-fry dish pop.
Ready to get cooking?
Yield: 4 servings
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1½ cups chopped carrot
- 2 cups chopped pineapple
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1½ cups cubed zucchini
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes (or 1 package of tofu)
- Zest of one lime, plus lime wedges to garnish
- ½ cup cashews, chopped
- 3-4 cups cooked brown rice
- ¼ cup tamari
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp ginger
- In a large sauce pan or wok, heat your oil and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes until aromatic.
- Add carrots, pineapple, red pepper and zucchini, and cook for 10 minutes until vegetables become soft. Add chicken, lime zest, cashews and stir-fry sauce. Cook for 5-10 minutes until thickest piece of chicken is cooked through. Add rice and mix thoroughly, cooking another 5 minutes while stirring to ensure all is evenly heated.
- Serve hot with a wedge of lime.