When I first moved into this country I was new to many things. Even though I had worked in hotels and had studied hotel management , India still had’nt reached the levels that it has now. I can go to India and find restaurants that serve all kinds of cuisines but those days it was a different story. Anyway , getting back to my original point, I had’nt tried Thai food, Japanese , Malaysian or even true Mexican food. I had experience with French and European food as I learnt and cooked their cuisines as a part of my college studies. I still remember my first bite of Thai food………..it was this little restaurant near the apt ( it has since undergone a huge transformation ) and I let V make all the menu choices , with only one request . I had seen PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE on the menu and I wanted to taste it . Now I am not here to say it was ambrosia and it changed my world …..but it was really good. It was spicy , sweet and tangy all at the same time. I realised that Indian and Thai food have many similar flavours and that I could taste and cook dishes from various parts of the world . That is what has made me the cook I am today…..striving for variety. I have since found a recipe for the rice that I like which comes close to the taste of my first bite. I have come to the conclusion after several tries that even though I love to use shortcuts , this is one rice where I prefer to make my own curry paste. Now for people who eat meat and have no objections to fish sauce, please use it while making the paste for a more authentic flavour. I however use canned or precut pineapple….one cannot let go of all conveniences !!!! I still remember the look on V and his cousin R’s face when I made it for them……….for all their worldliness , they were surprised when I made it for them.
1 ½ cups Pineapple, cut in cubes
3 cups cooked Jasmine Rice
½ cup Coconut Milk
1 medium Red Onion, finely chopped
1 Green Chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsp Raisins
2 tbsp Cashew nuts
½ tsp Sugar
2 tbsp Cilantro, finely chopped
Salt to taste
For the Yellow Curry Paste:
1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
2 stalks Lemon Grass
½ tbsp Ginger, grated
3 dried Red Chillies
2 cloves Garlic
½ small Red Onion
½ tsp Turmeric
Salt to taste
To make the curry paste, blend together all the ingredients until smooth. To use the lemon grass, chop and blend only the white soft portions of the stalk….the fibrous green portions are better used to flavour stocks or soups where they can be removed as they are quite tough to chew .
Sauté the cashew nuts and raisins until golden brown and keep aside.
In a wok or large sauté pan , heat the oil and then sauté the onions and green chilli until the onions are translucent.
Then add the curry paste and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add the pineapple and the coconut milk and simmer till the mixture is thick….it should take about 5-8 minutes.
Add the sugar and the salt.
Now add the cooked rice and gently mix it all together.
Serve garnished with the nuts , raisins and cilantro.
Some restaurants here serve this rice with peas and carrots, add it if you please. They also use shrimp and fish sauce…… if you eat meats please add them . If you do not have jasmine rice, feel free to use basmati or any long grain rice, they are perfectly acceptable substitutes and I have used them when I did’nt have any jasmine rice. Lemon grass also comes in a paste in most grocery stores…it certainly is more convenient. In a pinch , a bottled yellow curry can be used but I prefer the fresh paste for this rice. You will have to forgive me for all the chinese references in the picture…I did not have any thai oriented things and I was running out of time……everyone was hungry !!!!
This is off to Flavours Of Cuisines : Thai at Zesty South Indian Kitchen.