In Southern Thailand pineapple is very plentiful and often combined with meats, seafood, and vegetables and the skin is even used as a serving container.
The pineapple in this wonderful recipe adds a touch of tart sweetness which is often included in the balance of hot-sweet-sour-salty special flavour of Thai cuisine. This is a colourful dish of yellow, red, orange, red, and green.
Serves 2 as an entre or 4-6 as part of a Thai meal.
1 tablespoon garlic finely minced
2 tablespoons red curry paste*
2 tablespoons of chopped tomatoes (use plum type meaty tomatoes)
2 cups of coconut milk
1 cup pineapple cut into small dice
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons date palm sugar
1 teaspoon lime juice
16 Tiger prawns large size 21 size)
2-3 kaffir lime leaves, slivered
1 tablespoon Thai red chile peppers, slivered
18-24 fresh sweet Thai basil leaves
Peel, devein, and behead the shrimp, leaving only the small tail shells on. Place the peeled shrimp in a bowl of salted ice water for 20 minutes. Gently massage the shrimp for a minute and then let them soak. This step refreshes the flavour to fresh from the sea taste.
To make it easier to peel the tomatoes cut an X cut on the blossom end and place in boiling water for a minute. Then place them in cold water. This makes the skin literally come off with ease. Cut the tomatoes into quarters, discard the seed pulp, and chop the flesh. You want 2 tablespoons of chopped tomatoes.
Add a small amount of peanut oil to a medium hot wok, and briefly sauté the garlic and basil, removing it and reserving it when the aroma is fully developed.
Cook the curry paste in the hot wok, stirring until fragrant adding half the coconut milk, the fish sauce, tomatoes, pineapple, lime juice and sugar. Stir to combine fully.
Add the prawns and cook until they turn slightly pink and opaque-do not over cook them!.
Add the remainder of the coconut milk, the lime leaves and slivered chiles, and the reserved sautéed garlic and basil to the pan.
Serve in a pineapple skin for a dramatic and beautiful presentation. Garnish with a few basil leaves and basil flowers.. You can also garnish with chile flowers. **
If you have used canned pineapple just plate this wonderful dish on a pretty medium sized shallow bowl and garnish.
* If using commercial red curry paste I find Mae Ploy and Mae Sri Brands suitable. Of course making your own red curry paste always tastes best!
** To make chile flowers-simply slit the chiles up to but not through the stem in to 4 sections. I hold the chiles by their stems and use sharp scissors to carefully cut. Place the chiles in a bowl of ice water with ice for 20 minutes. The "petals" will curl up and look like flowers.
Serve with steamed Thai Jasmine rice.