Thursday, 10 May 2018

Chicken curry with pickled pineapple

05:28 Posted by Dhaval

Chicken curry with accompaniments was the equivalent of a roast dinner in our family when I was growing up. The scent of all the spices and aromatics, which were pounded in a mortar and pestle, would waft out of the kitchen, and it would seem an age before we got to sit down to enjoy it.

Chicken curry with pickled pineapple

Chicken curry with pickled pineapple ingredients

  • 1 chicken (about 1.5kg), jointed into 12 pieces
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 15 gm (about 3cm) ginger
  • 1 tsp belacan, roasted (see note)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bruised and cut into 3 pieces
  • 1 star anise
  • 450 gm (about 3 small) sebago potatoes, quartered
  • 250 ml (1 cup) coconut milk
  • 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
  • 3 tsp grated palm sugar, or to taste
  • Steamed rice, to serve


  • 10 small garlic cloves
  • 5 long red chillies, chopped
  • 30 gm (about 6cm) ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 30 gm (about 6cm) galangal, finely grated
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 125 ml (½ cup) canola oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 55 gm (¼ cup) caster sugar
  • 1 ripe pineapple (about
  • 1kg), cut into 2cm pieces


  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 4 dried red chillies, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric

Chicken curry with pickled pineapple preparation

  1. For pickled pineapple, blend garlic, chilli, ginger, galangal, lemongrass and turmeric in a small food processor until smooth, adding a little oil to loosen if necessary. Heat oil in a saucepan over low heat and fry paste until it darkens slightly (20 minutes), then stir in vinegar, sugar and 1 tsp salt. Remove from heat and cool, then add pineapple, stir to coat, and refrigerate to marinate (1 hour).
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C. For curry powder, dry-roast ingredients (except chillies peppercorns and turmeric) until fragrant (10 minutes). Finely grind chillies with a mortar and pestle, add roasted spices and peppercorns, finely grind, then stir in turmeric.
  3. Place chicken in a large bowl, rub with 1 tbsp curry powder and 1 tsp salt and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, pound onion, garlic, ginger and belacan to a smooth paste with a mortar and pestle. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat and fry paste until fragrant and onion is cooked out (5-6 minutes). Add lemongrass, star anise and remaining curry powder and fry until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add chicken and 250ml water, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is half-cooked (15 minutes). Add potato, coconut milk and curry leaves, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potato is tender and chicken is cooked (25-30 minutes). Season with salt and palm sugar and serve with rice and pineapple pickle. Note Belacan is a shrimp paste available from Asian grocers. To roast it, wrap it in foil and roast in a 180°C oven for 10 minutes. 

Wine suggestion: Fully mature bottle-aged Eden Valley riesling.