How to make pineapple curry

Lee Vandervis
Lee Vandervis

Lee Vandervis shows how to make a pineapple curry.

Lee Vandervis was born and raised in Balclutha and moved to Dunedin with his Dutch parents in his last years at high school. After living and working in Europe for some years, he returned and set up a sound and lighting hire business. Now he is a city councillor.

The Dutch were involved in the spice trade several centuries ago and a love of spicy food and curries has remained in their cuisine, Lee says.

This curry is his favourite dish so he likes to make a large amount as it tastes better after being in the fridge overnight and it saves time to cook two day's worth. You can halve the recipe.

Pineapple curry
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbsp coconut oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
4-6 small red chillies, finely chopped (dried will do)
a knob of shrimp paste the size of a walnut
a few splashes fish sauce
2 lumps palm sugar
3 tsp garam masala (he uses Gregg's)
2 x 240ml cans coconut cream
2 slightly under-ripe pineapples
a large handful of basil leaves for serving

Lee's pineapple curry. Photos by Christine O'Connor.
Lee's pineapple curry. Photos by Christine O'Connor.
Heat the coconut oil in a large wok or pan, and cook the onions slowly until browning - this will take several minutes. Add the garlic and chillies. Add the fish sauce, stir in the shrimp paste and let it dissolve, then when onions are brown, add the garam masala and palm sugar.

Cook for a few moments, then add the two cans of coconut cream, stir through and bring to a simmer. Leave to cook while the shrimp paste and palm sugar dissolve.

Prepare the pineapples by cutting off the tops and bottoms and slicing off the skin. There is no need to remove the eyes. Cut into 2-3cm chunks, discarding the core.

Add the pineapple and any juice to the curry, stir and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Leave until ready to serve, then reheat if needed.

This is nice with with brown rice and roast pork or as a filling for pancakes.

- Lee likes to use coconut oil for the flavour but says olive oil or butter will do.
- If you use more shrimp paste it will have more of a savoury flavour. Shrimp paste is available from Asian grocery stores.
- Palm sugar comes in small rounded lumps and is available from Asian stores. If you don't have any, use a tablespoon of brown sugar.
- If your pineapples are very ripe, leave out the palm sugar.
- Make this when pineapples are cheap. It needs fresh pineapple as canned pineapple does not work well.

Thanks to Afife Harris and Centre City New World.  


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