I don’t buy a lot of cookbooks, but occasionally someone like Thomas Keller will publish one that I feel is bound to become a timeless culinary classic which I absolutely must have, and that can be passed on to the Young Baker I’m talking about the superlative Ad Hoc At Home – the one full of family-style recipes that Thomas Keller would cook at home. Within the pages of this hallowed book is the Ad Hoc Blue Cheese Dressing and Summer Vegetable Gratin that I shared last summer.
Now that I peruse dozens of food blogs (comes with the territory), among my favorites are those that focus on ethnic foods and cultures; especially cuisines that I love to savor but haven’t had much experience in cooking myself. Spicie Foodie is one such blog that will have your mouth watering at the sight of her stunning photographs of mostly Indian, Thai and Mexican dishes. So when her cookbook An Epiphany of the Senses, was published, I felt like it was the perfect opportunity to support a foodie friend and face my nemesis
There is a misconception that Thai food is all about HOT! And, believe me, I’ve had that Thai food! But its not all about the chile; what’s unique about Thai food is the perfectly well balanced harmony of salty, sweet, sour, bitter/aromatic and heat/spicy in every meal. This lovely dish is a perfect balance of fruity, spicy and sweet, creamy curry.
Thai Chicken Pineapple Curry
From An Epiphany of the Senses | Yield: 3-4 servings
1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into bite-sized pieces
½ cup canned bamboo shoots, drained
1 red pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
12 cherry tomatoes
1-2 Tbsp. red curry paste*
2 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. white or brown sugar (omit if using canned pineapple)
¾ cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 cup coconut milk
2-3 Tbsp. sunflower or peanut oil
Fresh cilantro or basil leaves to garnish
*Notes: If fresh pineapple is not available, you can use drained canned pineapple – but fresh will taste much better. I added red pepper for added color and crunch. Curry pastes vary in how hot they are, so start with 1 Tbsp. of red curry paste, esp. if you don’t like too much heat. Taste test and adjust according to your heat preference.
1. On separate cutting boards, cut the pineapple, red pepper, and chicken into bite size pieces. Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over med-high heat. Sauté the red peppers for 2-3 minutes until softened, remove and set aside. Add the chicken and cook through, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat, add the ginger and garlic and cook for a minute or two being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the curry paste and sir well to combine. Then add the chicken broth, sugar, turmeric, bamboo shoots, fish sauce, pineapple and red peppers. Cover and simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes.
2. Add the coconut milk and stir until incorporated. (The coconut milk is added at the end to prevent curdling.) Next add the cherry tomatoes and cook for another 5 -8 minutes, until softened but still in their round form. If you would like to simmer the curry for longer to allow the flavors to come together more, turn the heat to low and cover until ready to serve.
Serve with jasmine or white rice and garnish with fresh basil or cilantro leaves.