Alright, with all the unsettling hubbub that’s going on around us at the moment, it’s getting harder and harder to stay relaxed and calm 24/7. Of course, if we take a couple of moments to actually settle down and listen, the foodie-part within us, may have something to say that might just save the day.
Communing with my tummy this way while staring out at the signs of mother nature waking up in the bright and warming sunshine was what conjured up this long forgotten representative of the “True Comfort Food” category. It seems my tummy decided to cherry-pick for the occasion: hot weather-appropriate ingredients turned into a heart-and-(most importantly) soul-warming, cold weather-appropriate curry.
I reverse-engineered this one way back, after a particularly enlightening encounter with a similar dish at a Malay Street Food Stall on a harvest festival in town – If memory serves me right, the original was a Peranakan Pineapple Prawn Curry, but I have to admit that, since the stall in question never made an appearance on that festivals in the years after, I was never able to confirm that fact, let alone ask for a real recipe. So, in the hopes that my delicious little, slightly Frankenstein’y curry won’t ruffle any “authentic cuisine” feathers and instead will spread a couple of satisfied smiles and edible sunshine, here goes~! Pineapple Prawn & Chicken Curry for 4 servings!
Oh and, just on a side-note, in case you’ve stocked your pantry and freezer with a couple of Asian staples like curry pastes, spices and such next to the tin of pineapples most people have hidden in some shelf or another, you might only need to go out for/order some chicken and prawns if they’re not readily sitting in your freezer anyways.
The Chicken and The Prawns
Of course, you can stick to either one of them in case the other doesn’t float your boat, but in case you go with prawns alone, make sure you stock up to 700-750g. Another alternative would be using left-over roasted chicken or cooked/poached chicken breast.
150g King or Black Tiger Prawns, shelled, cleaned and prepped ready-to-use
500g Chicken Thigh, deboned but the skin kept on
3-4 Drops of Sesame Oil
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Peanut Oil or Ghee
½ Tsp Turmeric
1 Tbsp Sriracha
1 generous Tsp Honey
1) Ok, pre-prep time. Place a large, heavy-based pan on medium-high heat.
2) Generously sprinkle the surface with sea salt and place the chicken pieces inside , skin-side down, while the pan is still cold.
3) Once the first sounds of sizzling chicken reach your ears, drop the ghee or oil into the center and leave it to its own devices for about 7-10 mins.
4) Allow the skin to crisp up nicely – once you’re satisfied with the color and texture of the skin, transfer the pieces out of the pan onto a layer of paper towels – again, skin-side facing down.
5) Pick up a small bowls and stir the sesame oil, salt, turmeric, sriracha and honey into a thick paste.
6) Brush the chicken pieces and the prawns with this marinade and set the lot aside for the time being.
The Spice Paste
50g Pandang Curry Paste
1 Tbsp Yellow Curry Paste
1 Small Red Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Tbsp Turmeric Root, roughly chopped
Alt: 1 Tbsp Powdered Turmeric
1 Tsp Sea Salt
3 Stalks of Lemongrass
1 Lime, Zest and Juice
2 Tbsp Soarkling Water
50g Cashew Nuts
Opt: 1 Tbsp Goji Berries
Add everything to a food processor and whizz it into a thick paste.
The Pineapple Curry
1 fresh Pineapple, skinned. Cored, cubed – catch its juices as u go and add them as well
Alt: 500 – 600g Tinned Pineapples, preserved in their own juice and 100 – 150ml of the juice
200ml Coconut Milk
1 Tsp Tamarind Paste
½ Tbsp Palm Sugar
3-5 Kaffir Lime Leaves – make sure you count them off to make hunting them down later easier
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
The Spice Paste
1 small Bunch of Coriander, leaves picked
A side of Rice, Shirataki Noodles or Chickpeas
1) Add the coconut oil to a large pot and sauté the spice paste until its intense aroma starts wafting up to you.
2) Stir in the coconut milk and pineapple juice and allow the liquids to simmer away for 2 – 5 mins.
3) Sprinkle in the sugar and, after adding the tamarind paste, stir the lot until the sugar has dissolved completely.
4) Slice your chicken into bite-sized pieces and have a close look at it – its current grade of done-ness will determine the time it’ll get in the hot curry.
5) Carefully fold the pieces into the curry and keep them in there until you’re happy with the chicken’s consistency and temperature.
6) Hunt down and discard the kaffir lime leaves while you’re at it.
7) Add the prawns and give them just enough time to heat through.
8) Finally, take the lot off the stove and fold in the coriander leaves.
9) Prep your curry bowls with a bed of the side you’ve picked and distribute the curry on top.
10) Grab a spoon, take a deep breath and…