Fruit curries are one of those dishes that you sometimes need to see/taste to believe. Yes, you tend to hear vegetables in savoury dishes a lot – but fruit? this is enough to send some people into an anxiety-inducing hell hole. For some, Pineapple curry is a bout as “huh? wtf” as it gets .
But when done right, fruit and curry can be a match made in heaven.
Luckily, this is not the first time pineapple has made into savoury dishes; the most popular being, Ham & Pineapple Pizza. Pineapples regularly make an appearance in many South East Asian food such as pineapple tart, pineapple fried rice, and sweet & sour prawns. Since pineapple is one of my favourite fruit, look out for more recipes with pineapple in the future!
Tropical Fruit Curry
The type of curry paste used for this dish is uniquely Malaysian. Known as ‘Pajeri’ , the two main ingredient that separates this curry paste with other types of curry pastes are dried shrimp and toasted coconut. While you can get them ready made from the shop, the paste it self is super easy to make.
The Pajeri – style curries are often made to be meat-free using fruit or vegetables such as pineapples, green mangoes, snake beans, eggplant and okra. Exotic choices, even for some Asian palettes I must say.
While not difficult to make, this pineapple curry is like nothing you have had before. Combination of spices, creamy coconut milk, sweet and sourish taste of pineapples and nutty toasted coconut are what makes the pineapple curry so special. Too bad this type of curry has weaned off in popularity.
But if you are following the vegan/vegetarian diet, this makes a great Asian inspired vegetarian meal. While this recipe is not a vegan recipe, you can always turn it into one by omitting the only ingredient that makes it non-vegan ; the dried prawns.
Since pineapple does not go mush after cooking like other vegetables, you can easily have this curry as part of your weekly meal prep .
How to make pineapple curry/ pajeri nenas
Fresh pineapple is best but canned pineapple is perfectly okay to use too
The best pineapple to use is one that has just turned ripe. This way, the fruit has both delicious sweet & sour taste to it
The pajeri curry paste does include additional sugar. If you prefer your paste to be refined sugar-free, simply add 3 tbsp of fresh pineapple juice . Or omit it from the paste completely. You can still get sweetness from the pineapples.
Dish is best paired with fluffy white rice.
If you don’t have dried shrimp, you can swap it with dried anchovies. Otherwise, turn this dish into an epic vegan meal by eliminating dried shrimp all together.
Spicy Pineapple Curry / Pajeri Nenas
- 3 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 3 cloves of Garlic thinly sliced
- 1 whole Onion medium , thinly sliced
- 1 inch Ginger julienne/sliced
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 2 Star Anise
- 2 cups Water 500ml / 17 oz
- 3 tbsp Curry Powder
- 1 tbsp Dried Shrimp finely chopped
- 1½ tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 medium Fresh Pinapple cored & sliced
- ½ cup Coconut Milk
- ½ tbsp Chicken/Vegetable Stock Powder
- ⅓ cup toasted dessicated Coconut
- Salt to taste
- On medium heat, pour oil on wok/pot
- Add garlic, onions and ginger and fry until onion becomes transluscent
- Add cinnamon stick & star anise , continue frying on medium heat
- Add 3 tbsp of water
- Add curry powder, stir continously until curry powder and garlic/onion/ginger mixture becomes a paste
- Add brown sugar and salt
- Continue to fry the curry paste in medium heat, stirring continously
- Once the paste has darkens and becomes thick, add Pineapples
- Add the remaining water and cook pineapple for a few minutes.
- Add coconut milk, chicken/vegetable stock & toasted dessicated coconut
- Cook on low to medium heat until curry sauce thickens and pineapple has softens
- Serve with Yellow/White Rice
- In a pan with no oil, add 1 cup of desiccated coconut.
- Dry fry desiccated coconut on low heat and stir continously. Do not leave it unattended or it will burn
- Cook/toast coconut until it turns golden brown or into the color you desire, the darker the coconut, the darker your dish will turn out to become.
- Cool desiccated coconut and store in airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Frying the curry paste is the most important step in making great curries. Always start cooking process on medium heat.
- Always fry paste in generous amount of oil and some water. This avoids burning the paste and eliminate ‘powdery’ taste you get when using powdered spices.
- A great way of knowing when the curry paste is ready is when the oil starts to float on top of the paste, and water has dissipated.
- Can’t find dried shrimp? No worries, substitute with Dried Anchovies or 1 teaspoon of belachan.
- Wanting a vegan option to this dish ? No problem, substitute dried shrimp with dried porcini/shitake mushrooms or eliminate all together. Instead of using chicken stock powder, use vegetarian stock powder instead
- If you prefer smoother texture with your curries, do by blending garlic, ginger & onions. Also, to blend/pound the toasted coconut into finer texture using mortar pestle/blender/food processor.