How many of you have ordered this dish in your favorite Thai restaurant? Personally, I rarely do because I want to eat spicy food and not something that could be sweet. Not my type, you see. But nevertheless, this is a classic. And you've got to eat the classics too. And so, in order to convince myself and my family, I had to take matters in my own hands. Besides, the pineapples were on sale too and I can't resist a deal. So, I got 2 gorgeous pineapples at 88cents each (see I told you, they were a deal!). I was just too tempted to try this. Finally when we were done with dinner, this was the verdict - especially from my husband who does not like the presumed sweet rice - "Make this every time you make Thai at home instead of the plain fried rice" and also - "let's make this next time we meet up with our friends".
And for the sweet part - the rice has the subtle sweetness of the pineapple but also load of other flavors. The sweetness is only when you bite into the pineapple - but the rice itself is spicy. Not sweet. I could go on and on about the wonderful flavors in here - but you won't know unless you actually try it. And you should. Really - what could go wrong. Yeah, you could finish the whole pot of rice - that could go wrong. And nothing else. So, go out after you read this and get your pineapples too!
You'll need a nice ripe pineapple - how do you figure that out? The outside should be a nice yellow color and not green. And when you just smell the outside, you should smell the sweetness of the pineapple. That means its ready. It wants to become a part of something special. It wants to grace your dining table. It needs compliments. It needs all your love. Needy Pineapple.
Cut your needy pineapple vertically into two pieces. Take a knife and cut the center into big pieces and gently lift it off the skin. Once you get all the big pieces out, use a spoon and scrap out the sides so that you leave out a smooth skin underneath. We will use this later as the serving piece! Chop the pieces you took out from the center into small bits of deliciousness!
Now for the rice part, do this step first. You can use Thai Jasmine rice if you have some. I used just our regular basmati rice. Wash about 2 cups rice and set aside. I want to give everyone a totally unrelated tip here - if you use a non stick rice cooker, don't wash the rice in the cooker and then cook it. Always use a small bowl to wash the rice and then add it along with water in your rice cooker and cook it. This helps to protect the non stick surface of your rice cooker for a long time.
Take about 2 cups of uncooked rice.
We will also be using some coconut milk here. I always use the light variety - as you can see this has 67% less fat than regular coconut milk - I can so use that. My hips agree too.
Now add the 2 cups of washed rice to the rice cooker. Then, add 2 cups of coconut milk and 1 cup of water to the rice. Make sure you don't use all the coconut milk in the can. Save about 1/2 cup for later for the curry. And then close and switch on the rice cooker. You can use this type of rice for many many dishes. Ghee rice made with this tastes heavenly - I promise to make that and eat after I genetically change my body structure. Until then, I'll just dream about it.
Now for the curry part. We are going to make a fresh curry paste at home using simple ingredients.
In a small blender, add the following -
1 heaped tbsp of Coriander seeds
1 heaped tsp of cumin seeds
3-4 dried red chillies
3-4 kernals of black pepper
about 2 inch piece of ginger - chopped roughly
about 1 whole stick of lemongrass - chopped roughly or 1 tbsp of lemongrass paste
Garlic - 1 or 2 cloves (optional) I actually did not add this - but I'm sure it will be good if you do.
Grind it all together - you can add a few drops of water or a little oil for a richer curry paste. Use regular vegetable oil and not olive oil.
Now in a pan, add about 1 tsp oil and then add about 1 cup of chopped onions. Sprinkle some salt on top and saute for a min until the onions start turning translucent. Once they are done, remove the onions from the pan and set aside.
Now, add about 1 cup of chopped red bell pepper to the same pan - you don't need to add extra oil. The oil already in the pan will do. Again, sprinkle salt and then saute for a min or two. Then, remove and set aside.
Now, add the curry paste to the pan and cook it for a min until all the wonderful aromas start flying out and touching the tip of your nose. Thank God now for making ginger a part of our world.
Now add the coconut milk you saved earlier to the curry. And then slit one big green chilli and add salt to taste along with that. Also, add a 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder for a gorgeous color! Let this curry bubble up for a min.
Now, add the chopped pineapple pieces in here and mix well with the curry.
Now, that's some gorgeous curried pineapple here - you can just stop here and add this to bread as a topping and eat that. I'm sure it will be delicious! That will be a curried pineapple bruschetta ..how about that for some thai - italian fusion cuisine! I have to try it myself sometime!
Next, throw in the sauteed onions and red bell peppers into this.
Here's the cooked coconut rice.
Add the rice a little at a time to the curried pineapple paste and mix gently.
Add a little red chilli powder or paprika on top just to spice it up a notch.
Now, add some fried cashews and raisins to the rice. Just a tiny bit of raisins - maybe only about 6-8 pieces. You don't want to make this more sweet with too many raisins.
Finally, add the best garnish ever - some finely chopped cilantro!
One other unrelated opinion here - does it bother you when you see people or restaurants or big chefs on TV adding cilantro on top - but just the whole leaves. That annoys me to a very great extent - its like as soon as I see that, I deduct 20 points from their score in my head...you know what I mean? Come on, how long does it take to chop up some leaves...and when chopped nicely, the flavor that these leaves bring out enhances the whole dish. Just eating them as leaves does not please my palette at all. I pick them and set them aside. Some people are so lazy, they don't even take the stems off. Please. .don't do that. I saw this show on a tamil channel where this lady cooks and then while serving, just throws in a couple of leaves with the stems and somehow that is supposed to make the dish look more beautiful according to her. Really lady...you just made the dish look not so good. Chop them next time...
Enough of my rant. Sorry, I got carried away.
So, chop the fresh cilantro leaves and add them to the rice. Mix well - gently.
Serve hot on the scooped out pineapple bases. Isn't that a nice meal to serve your family? They deserve it. Do it for them.
Blogger or not, take pictures of your creation - and frame it if you want to!
A bountiful of nature's beauty. All for you to enjoy!
Enjoy! Peace out!