Vacaciones Espontáneas / Arroz con piña

File Jun 14, 12 15 10 AMEstábamos en el mercado el otro día y mientras buscaba entre las frutas y verduras frescas, noté un lote de piñas en uno de los estantes que lucían deliciosas.

 

He escogido piña fresca en el pasado, pero la verdad siempre me ha costado elegir una buena.

 

Mientras estaba allí tocando una de las espinosas frutas, mi esposo regresó del otro lado de la tienda con un galón de leche en la mano. Colocó la leche en nuestro carro y se dio cuenta de que yo estaba viendo fijamente las piñas.

 

“¡Me encanta la piña!” Dijo, como si estuviera leyendo mi mente. “Deberíamos comprar una.”

 

Se acercó al estante en donde estaban las piñas, y tomó una que se veía más amarilla, que verde o marrón, la acercó a su rostro y la olió, y luego jaló suavemente la hoja del centro de la cabeza de la fruta.

 

Explicó – y busqué más tarde en Google para verificar: Cómo elegir una piña madura.

 

Se puede determinar la madurez de una piña por su color, olor y, suavemente jalando una hoja.

 

Cuanto más madura este la piña, más fuerte es el olor. El olor de una piña inmadura es débil.

 

Además, la hoja central superior se extrae fácilmente cuando la fruta esta totalmente madura.

 

Así que trajimos a casa una buena piña madura, mi esposo emocionado la cortó tan pronto como llegamos y comenzó a comer la dulce delicia tropical.

 

Pero yo tenía más en mente que simplemente comer la piña sola. Yo estaba pensando en mi tiempo en el sudeste asiático, y en un plato que rápidamente se convirtió en un favorito – Arroz con piña.

 

El arroz con piña es básicamente arroz frito con piña y camarones.

 

Es conocido popularmente como un platillo tailandés. No obstante, algo que supe de primera mano, fue que aunque su popularidad no está en cuestión, no es realmente un platillo de Tailandia. Hecho que en su momento me confundió, porque casi cada restaurante tailandés en el que he estado sirven el platillo.

 

Durante mis viajes, pasé un tiempo en Tailandia, en donde mis amigos locales me dijeron que el famoso arroz con piña no es parte de su dieta, ni lo consideran un platillo tailandés real. De hecho, una vez teniendo esa información, observe con detenimiento y me di cuenta que sólo vi el plato en restaurantes de zonas turísticas.

 

La primera vez que probé el arroz con piña fue en Singapur, en “Golden Mile Complex” – el mercado tailandés en la ciudad. Y lo comí frecuentemente durante mi tiempo en Asia.

 

Cuando pienso en el platillo, pienso en mi querida amiga Bere.

 

Hace varios años, Bere y yo viajamos juntas a Indonesia, en unas espontaneas mini vacaciones/celebración de cumpleaños.

 

Yo acababa de volver a Singapur de un largo viaje de trabajo, y estaba en casa cuando mi amiga, Bere, me envió un mensaje de texto. Después de saludarnos, le dije que estaba en casa, y le pregunté qué estaba haciendo.

Era un lunes como cualquier otro, y me extraño que se comunicara conmigo en horas de trabajo.

 

“Me tomé esta semana de vacaciones”, me dijo. A lo que respondí:

 

“¡Deberíamos ir a algún lugar!”

 

Ella sugirió: “¡Vamos a la playa!”

 

Era mediados de diciembre, y mi cumpleaños seria sólo en un par de días, yo había trabajado exhaustivamente las semanas previas, y estaba planeando tomar el resto de la semana libre, por lo que su idea me cayo como anillo al dedo.

 

Y así, decidimos irnos a la playa; Bere sugirió la isla Bintan en Indonesia, que esta a dos horas en ferri de Singapur.

 

Una hora después de nuestra conversación nos encontramos en la terminal de ferri, compramos boletos, y nos dirigimos a Indonesia. En el camino, Bere hizo reservas de hotel, y estábamos listas.

 

En el lugar en donde nos alojamos, no había mucho alrededor, así que la mayor parte de nuestros días, la pasamos durmiendo en la habitación, leyendo, o a la orilla de la playa.

 

La playa era preciosa, con aguas cristalinas y arenas doradas.

 

Al día de hoy, ese viaje sigue siendo uno de los momentos más relajantes de mi vida adulta.

 

Pasamos un par de días descansando y relajándonos en una de las playas más hermosas en esa área. Recuerdo haber comido mucho arroz con piña.

 

Bere es vegetariana, así que ella comió este platillo – solo quitando el camarón. Recuerdo que probamos otros platillos durante ese viaje, y no fueron nada impresionantes; Pero el arroz frito con piña fue una delicia continua.

 

Así que ahora, cuando pienso en Arroz con piña (y arroz frito), pienso en Bere, la diversión de nuestro viaje espontáneo a Indonesia, y cómo ella sigue siendo una de mis mejores amigas y compañeras de viaje favoritas.


 

ARROZ FRITO CON PIÑA

2 -3 Personas

(Todos los ingredientes son aproximaciones, añade o cambia los ingredientes a tu gusto)

 

1 Taza de arroz blanco cocido (frío de preferencia y es perfecto si es un par de días viejo)   (Checa cómo hacer un mejor arroz)

10 Camarones

1 Huevo

1/2 Cebolla amarilla finamente cortada en trozos pequeños

2 Cebollas verdes picadas (Cebollines)

1-2 Tomates medianos, sin semilla y picados en trozos de aprox. 2 centímetros.

2/3 Taza de piña fresca, cortada en trozos de 2 centímetros

(* Si no puede encontrar la piña fresca, usa piña al almíbar asegurándote de secar el almíbar lo mejor que puedas)

1/2 Taza de nueces de la india tostadas sin sal

1 Cucharada de salsa de soya

1 Cucharada de salsa de pescado

1 Cucharadita de curry en polvo

1 Cucharadita de azúcar

1 Pepino en rodajas para adornar

1 Pizca de pimienta blanca

1 Pizca de sal

2 Cucharaditas de aceite de cocina (vegetal, de oliva o lo que sea que usas regularmente en tu cocina)

 

PREPARACIÓN

 

Antes de comenzar, mezcla todos los ingredientes secos (curry, azúcar, pimienta blanca, sal) en una taza pequeña. Mezcla los ingredientes húmedos (salsa de soya y salsa de pescado) en una taza pequeña separada. Déjalos a un lado.

(Con libertad puedes saltar este paso y servir directamente mientras cocinas.)

En un sartén grande, calienta a fuego medio-alto y saltea los camarones hasta que estén rosados ​por todos lados.

Una vez que están listos, sácalos del sartén, y escurre el exceso de aceite, ponlos a un lado.

Usando el aceite restante (y agregando un poco más si es necesario), agrega el huevo y bátelo ligeramente. Cuando el huevo empiece a cambiar de color y este medio cocido, agrega el arroz y revuelve con la cuchara hasta que este bien mezclado (alrededor de 2 minutos).

Agrega los trozos de cebollas y mezcla durante aproximadamente 2 minutos. Agregue los ingredientes secos (curry, azúcar, pimienta blanca, sal) y la mitad de la mezcla de ingredientes húmedos (salsa de soya y salsa de pescado), continua removiendo hasta que los granos de arroz se separen y los condimentos cubran todo el plato (unos 3 minutos) .

Agrega la piña, camarones, las nueces de la india y la otra mitad de la mezcla de ingredientes húmedos. Revuelve aproximadamente por 3 minutos.

Una vez que la piña se oscurezca y el arroz este seco, apaga el fuego. Añade los trozos de tomates y cebollín.

Sirve el arroz en un plato colocando con los camarones completos sobre el arroz, y las rebanadas de pepino a un lado como decoración.

 

Versión vegetariana:

Omite el camarón

(y el huevo en el caso de los veganos)

Usa aceite de coco y agrega un poco de ajo y jengibre fresco para acentuar los sabores!

 

Prueba esta receta y comparte con nosotros tu experiencia a través de #johastable

Spontaneous Vacation/Pineapple Rice

We were at the grocery store the other day and I was perusing through the fresh produce when I noticed some delicious looking pineapples.

I’ve selected fresh pineapple before, but the truth is I didn’t know how to pick out a good one. As I stood there fondling the prickly fruit, my husband returned from the other side of the store with a gallon of milk in hand. He placed the milk in our cart and realized I was staring at pineapples.

“I love pineapples!” he said, seemingly reading my mind. “We should get one.”

He reached into the pineapple display and grabbed a more-yellow-than-green-or-brown pineapple, brought it close to his face and smelled it, and then gently tugged at the leaf at the fruit’s top center.

He explained – and I later googled his facts to verify – how to pick out a ripe pineapple.

You can tell a pineapple’s ripeness by its color, scent and by gently tugging on a leaf.

The closer to ripe the pineapple gets, the more robust the scent. An unripe pineapple’s scent is faint.

Also, the top center leaf will easily pull from the fruit when fully ripened.

So we brought home a good, ripe pineapple, and my excited husband cut it open as soon as we got home and began eating the sweet tropical delight.

But I had more in mind than simply eating the pineapple alone. I was thinking of my time in Southeast Asia, and a dish that quickly became a favorite – Pineapple Rice. Pineapple Rice is basically fried rice with pineapple and shrimp.

Pineapple Rice is known as a popular Thai dish, but something I found out firsthand is the fact that, though it’s popularity is not in question, it’s not actually a Thai dish; which really confused me because nearly every Thai restaurant I’ve ever been to serves the dish.

But during my travels, I spent time in Thailand, where locals told me that Pineapple Rice is not part of their diet, nor do they consider it an actual Thai dish. In fact, I only saw the dish in restaurants in touristic areas.

I first tried Pineapple Rice in Singapore, in Golden Mile Complex – the Thai market in the city. And I ate the dish often during my time in Asia.

When I think about the dish, I think of my dear friend Bere.

Several years ago, Bere and I traveled together to Indonesia on a whim for a several days, for a relaxing miniature birthday vacation.

I had just gotten back to Singapore from a long work trip and was at home when my friend, Bere, began texting me.

After our greetings, I told her I was back at home and asked what she was doing.

It was a random Monday for her, so it was strange that she was able to communicate with me during work hours.

“I took the week off work,” she told me.

I replied, saying, “We should go somewhere!”

She upped the ante with a suggestion: “We should go to the beach!”

It was the middle of December, and my birthday was only a couple of days away and I had been gone for work, so I was planning to take the rest of the week off, so I agreed.

And just like that, we decided to leave and go to the beach; Bere suggested Bintan Island in Indonesia, which was a two-hour ferry ride from Singapore.

Within an hour after texting, we met at the ferry terminal, bought tickets and headed to Indonesia.

On the way, Bere made hotel reservations, and we were set.

At the hotel where we stayed, there wasn’t much around, so most of our days were spent napping in the room or lying on the beach.

The beach was beautiful, with crystal clear waters and golden sands.

To this day, that trip remains one of the most relaxing times of my adult life.

We spent a couple of days resting and relaxing at one of the most beautiful beaches in that area. And I ate lots of Pineapple Rice.

Bere is a vegetarian, so she was able to eat the dish as well – she just picked the shrimp out.

I remember trying other foods during that trip, and wasn’t impressed; but the Pineapple Rice was a continual delight.

So now, when I think of Pineapple Rice, I think about Bere and our spontaneous trip to Indonesia and how she remains one of my best friends and favorite travel partners.


 

PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE

2 -3 People

(All the ingredients are approximation, add or change ingredients to taste)

 

1 Cup of cooked white rice (cold, or day old if possible) – Check how to make a better rice

10 Shrimp

1 egg

1/2 Yellow onion finely cut in small pieces

2 Green Onions chopped

1-2 Medium-sized Tomatoes, seeded and chopped in 1/2 inches pieces.

2/3 Cup Fresh Pineapple, cut into 1/2 inches pieces. (*If you can’t find fresh pineapple, use canned pineapple drying with a napkin as much juice as you can.)

1/2 Cup of roasted unsalted cashews

1 tsp Soy sauce

1 tsp Fish sauce

1 tsp Curry powder

1 tsp Sugar

1 Sliced Cucumber for garnish

1 dash of White Pepper

1 dash of Salt

2 tsp Cooking oil (vegetable, olive or whatever you regularly use in your kitchen)

 

PREPARATION

Before starting, mix all the dry ingredients (curry, sugar, white pepper, salt) in a small cup. Mix wet ingredients (Soy sauce and Fish sauce) in a separate small cup. Set aside.

(You are free to skip this step and serve direct while cooking.)

In a big frying pan, heat on medium-high and sear the shrimp until pink and on all sides. Once it is ready, take it out of the pan, and drain the excess oil and set a side.

Using the remaining oil (and adding a little more if necessary), add the egg and scramble. When the egg starts changing color (half way cooked) add the rice and stir until it is mixed (around 2 minutes).

Add onions and mix for approximately 2 minutes.

Add dry ingredients (curry, sugar, white pepper, salt) and half of the wet ingredient mix (soy sauce and fish sauce), keep stirring until the rice grains are separated, and the seasoning has covered all the dish (about 3 minutes).

Add pineapple, shrimp, cashews and the other half of the wet ingredient mix. Stir approximately 3 minutes.

Once the pineapple is darkened and the rice is dry, turn off heat. Add tomatoes and the green onions.

Serve the rice garnishing with the whole shrimp on top and cucumber on the side as garnish.

 

Vegetarian version:

Omit the shrimp and egg (vegan)

Use coconut oil and add spice it up with some garlic and fresh ginger.

 

Try this recipe and share with us through #johastable

Tacos Dorados (Taquitos)

During the Easter season in most Latin American countries, many people refrain from eating meat. The month leading up to Easter is the Catholic season of Lent – and most Latin American countries have deep rooted Catholic backgrounds.

This is a time when lots of seafood is consumed.

Growing up, though, my family wasn’t Catholic. So during the Lent season, we were one of the only families around that was eating meat regularly. (Also, my mom didn’t like cooking seafood because of the lingering fishy scent.)

Last week, as I was thinking about Lent and seafood, and the fact that my family continued eating meats throughout the season, I was reminded of a time I was served some of the best fish soup I’ve ever eaten.

Before you get your hopes too high, I’ll tell you that this post is not about that delicious soup – though I am going to track down that recipe for a later date. Now, in Mexico we eat tacos dorados with soup, much like in many places soups are served with sandwiches or loaves of bread. Today’s post is about that delectable, crispy bite of comfort that’s often served with a soup and can stand alone just as well – Tacos Dorados.

It was a few weeks before Easter in the early 2000’s when a college classmate and friend looked over at me and said, “Hey, let’s get a group together and go to Acapulco.”

So, naturally, as I am full of spontaneity I said, “Yeah! That would be fun. Let’s do it!”

Within 24 hours, a group of five of us were on our way from Mexico City to Acapulco – about a 4-5 hour drive. In the group were my friend and his brother and sister, and my brother and me.

We had family friends that owned a house in Acapulco, and were away on a vacation of their own, who said we could use their house during our stay, so we were prepared for a non-expensive miniature beach vacation among friends.

The only expenses we would incur would be food and gasoline.

Then, on our way to Acapulco, I remembered that I had a friend who lived right outside of the city – in El Coloso. This friend, Eli (pronounced Eh-lee), would eventually become my best friend, traveling companion, and maid of honor. (In fact, we always talk about how, in that time, we never thought we’d be living in a Malaysian jungle together, or getting a free flight to Hawaii together, or getting lost together in different parts of the planet.)

I messaged her, and she replied telling me she would be in class on the day of our arrival.

Once we arrived in Acapulco and reached one of the most known beaches, we looked around and were all, frankly, quite disappointed. That’s when I decided to call Eli, who had just finished her college classes for the day.

Eli brought us away from the touristic areas and to the most beautiful local beaches with golden sands and crystal clear water nestled in between two mountain peaks. Needless to say, we were excited to find such a lovely area, and we decided that is where would continue our vacation the following morning.

That next day, Eli’s mother – Mama Berna – sent, with her daughter, some fish soup and tacos dorados for us to enjoy on the beach.

I grabbed a taco and poured some soup in a container and tasted both. As expected, the taco was perfection, but the soup surprised me with its delicate and intrinsic flavors.

Usually, fish soup is strong – it’s aftertaste and smell overpowers

This soup, however, was not that. The fish wasn’t soggy. It’s consistency was pure. The vegetables had a nice fish taste, but didn’t lose their vegetable essence.

I remember thinking a hot soup would not be good for a day at the beach, but it was actually light and refreshing and perfect for a beach day.

Seriously, I will get that recipe and make it for this blog one day.

Maybe the reason I thought the food was so good that day was because Mama Berna did not know us – we were just friends of her daughter – and she went out of her way to show us such love and hospitality.

Mama Berna really became someone very special to me that day – even without knowing her until later. She made that food with love and gave it to us without asking for anything in return.

That day changed all my thoughts on fish. It made me more open to seafood – as my mother didn’t cook seafood and we didn’t live in an area where seafood was fresh and readily available.

My little brother, Jorge, on the other hand, was not as open to anything seafood. He refused to taste the soup and missed out on a real delight. He didn’t care about the soup. So we didn’t care about him.

“Whatever,” I said. “Just eat sand.”

So we ate. We finished the soup and turned toward that heaping plate of about 50 Tacos Dorados, which I had already enjoyed eating one earlier, with my soup.

They were gone.

Jorge had eaten the entire plate of Tacos Dorados.

Still, to this day, when I think of Tacos Dorados, I think of what they probably would have tasted like after that delicious fish soup. And in my dear brother, this is one of his favorite dishes.

All that said, this is a great Mexican dish to enjoy with friends and family, especially with little ones who like to eat with their hands!

 

Enjoy!


 

TACOS DORADOS

The biggest issue of Tacos Dorados is that you must have access to corn tortillas, or at least MASECA corn flour.

Either purchase corn tortillas from your local grocer, or follow the instructions to make tortillas on the package of MaSeCa. I like to make my own tortillas, which is pretty easy.

 

— To make corn tortillas, add water to MASECA corn flour (use amount directed on package) and salt; then knead. Roll into balls and flatten to thin-ness of a tortilla. Place on dry skillet on medium heat and cook both sides. —

 

The tacos, traditionally, are filled with cooked shredded chicken, beef, or boiled and seasoned potatoes.

DIRECTIONS:

  • Heat tortilla in microwave or stovetop, remove from heat, and place line of meat/potatoes in the middle of the tortilla.
  • Take one edge of the tortilla and reach toward the protein, and pull it toward the edge as you roll the tortilla tightly – Be careful not to spill out any of the meat/potatoes.
  • Once rolled, seal the end with a toothpick. The toothpick keeps the taco closed once placed in the hot oil. Use more than one toothpick if necessary.
  • Place oil (vegetable oil, canola oil, etc.) in a pan and bring to medium-high heat.
  • Place tacos into hot oil and fry until golden and crispy on all sides. If you have a fryer, this process is much easier.
  • Put the tacos on a platter with napkins or paper towels underneath to allow excess oil to drain.

At this point, once cooled, remove toothpicks and the Tacos Dorados are ready to be consumed. You can eat them alone as a snack, with a soup, or as a meal topped with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, avocados, salsa and whatever else your heart desires.