Monday, January 05, 2009

Pineapple Chicken

‘Something about how they cook chicken with pineapples in the Philippines’- The vaguest recollection about this was that I had read an article in Reader’s Digest when I was in junior school, and yet this memory kept coming back. So finally on this New Year’s Day, based on the vaguest of ideas of how it will taste, I tried to put this idea to test

Ingredients (Serves two):

Chicken breast – 600 gm (diced into bite sized pieces)
Pineapple- 250 gm can conserved
Ginger- 2 inch stick (coarsely chopped)
Pepper- 3 tsp (Whole)
Lime- 1 whole
Red chilli- 2 whole
Oil- for cooking
Salt –To taste
Optional: Lemon grass- Half a stick (in ½ inch pieces)


Make small incisions in chicken cubes to speed up cooking. Bruise ginger lightly and add to chicken pieces. Toss in the pineapple along with the syrup and squeeze in half a lemon. Mix thoroughly and let it marinate for 2 hours. The enzymes in the pineapple, along with the lemon will tenderize the chicken.

Heat oil in a pan and fry chicken till tender. Once the chicken is cooked, add a little more oil and throw in the pineapple pieces. Let it simmer for five minutes. Coarsely crush the pepper corns with the flat knife side. Now add pepper and garlic from the marinade along with the red chillis (for flavour). Add remaining marinade and salt to taste. Cover and reduce flame to low. For those willing to experiment, you could add the lemon grass now. However, lemon grass with its overpowering flavour can unbalance the gingery sweet taste of the dish. Some like it some don’t. I leave the choice to you.

Leave on simmer till sauce is reduced to a consistency of a thick soup. Before serving sprinkle a little lime juice on chicken. Serve hot with rice.

This dish is simple to cook. Estimated cooking time is ½ - ¾ of an hour and is a combination of many flavours. The first impression is the sweet pineapple taste which combines well with the chicken. As you munch along, the other flavours that you chance upon, the tart lime juice sprinkled in the end, the piquant taste of ginger and hot bite from the coarsely crushed pepper refreshes the palette and reawakens the sense of smell as you move along.


Being a sweetish dish, I would recommend a side dish of a spice vegetable (dominant flavour being hot) so that the palette does not get jaded. I tried it with a side dish of mashed yam (Suran ala crème) and pancakes.

Dessert suggestion- With a main course whose dominant flavour is sweet, it’s extremely difficult to find a dessert. An alternative could be a tart fruit like Kiwi. Peel Kiwi, slice into thin chunks and chill in freezer. Just when your guests are done, serve in martini glasses topping off each serving with a ripe cherry. Accompany with whole wheat crackers and a dry ripe cheese.

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