I recently had a fab prawn and pineapple curry at a Thai restaurant and we decided to make our own one Sunday evening for a ‘date night at home’. It’s a sweet and hot curry, really full of flavour and can be served with plain boiled rice and some stir fried veggies.
It turned out really well, the only difference next time is that we will cook the spice paste a bit longer to really caramelize it.
Ingredients (serves 2)
Small tin of pineapple chunks or cubes from a small fresh pineapple
Half a teaspoon of tamarind pulp/paste
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 tin of coconut cream (approx 250 mls)
200mls water (if using tinned pineapple, use some of the juice from the can)
6 dried red chillies (soaked in hot water, sliced, and deseeded)
1 small red onion diced
approx 500g of fresh raw tiger prawns (this is the weight with the shell on)
1 large clove of garlic or 3 small ones
2 cm of galangal (or ginger) peeled and finely sliced
2 lemongrass stalks (split most of the way along the length and then bashed) or 2 tablespoons of lemongrass paste
3 – 5 candlenuts (or macadamias)
1 teaspoon of blachan (shrimp paste) sliced
1 and a half teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1. Using a blender, make the chilli paste (rempah) by blending the chillies, some of the chilli soaking water, onion, garlic, galangal, lemongrass paste (if using the stalks, don’t blend them), blachan, candlenuts, salt and sugar.
2. Heat about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large pan and fry the blended paste. If using lemongrass stalks, add them now (and bash them a bit with the stirrer) to flavour the paste but keep them intact so that you can easily remove them before serving.
3. While the paste is frying, peel the prawns, remove the poop tube, cut them in half lengthways or butterfly them, and give them a rinse before patting them dry with kitchen paper.
4. The paste needs to be really nicely caramelized, it should go much darker, and should end up fairly thick and a little claggy, The oil will separate from the paste. It shouldn’t taste or smell too much of the blachan. This process will take about 10-15 minutes on a low heat.
5. Now add the coconut cream, kaffir lime leaves, tamarind and pineapple along with some of the water. Give it a good stir and add more water if it is too thick – it should be a nice medium consistency – not too thick but not too runny – you want the sauce to coat the prawns nicely and have some to soak into the rice.
6. Cook for around 5-10 minutes then add the prawns and cook until they just go opaque, don’t overcook them.
7. Garnish with crispy fried shallots (you can find these in Asian grocers).
Serve with rice, veggies, rotis.
A note on the lemongrass – I never blend lemongrass stalks because I find that however much you blend them, you still end up with fibrous lumps in the curry. I sometimes buy the ready made lemon grass paste in the veggie herb section at the supermarket:
I find that a tablespoon is equivalent to a lemongrass stalk.
When using the actual stalks, I tend to peel off the outer fibrous layers, then I split them almost all along the length, but leaving a little bit in tact so that the stalk doesn’t break up completely. If the stalk is fat, I will make another slit along it. The trick is to expose the white inner layer. Once slit, you can bash them with a heavy object like a rolling pin to release the flavour then add them to your curries. Once the curry is cooked, just lift them out again.