Tre tensed up when I told him that I intended to make a curry for dinner this past Monday. Luckily, I’d made this declaration to him at the market where he was unable to make a scene. About a year ago I’d attempted to make a curry dish — one that I’d had successes with before — but for want of a little heat I added far too much chili pepper. The dish was inedible, at best. I should have known when I couldn’t even stand close to the stove without my eyes burning and my nose opening to new levels of olfactory clarity. In spite of this being a one-time fluke, Tre made it clear that it was not a dish he wanted to revisit… ever.
Unfortunately for him, I’ve been on a curry kick lately. Anyone who’s ever read my yelp reviews knows how passionate I am about a solid curry dish and a restaurant that can do it justice. My absolute favorite comes from a hole-in-the-wall Thai/Vietnamese restaurant in the seediest part of the East End known simply as “SEA.” And while I’d love to go into how significant their beef curry is to my everyday life, I suppose this entry is best suited to sharing my own personal experience with this fantastic dish.
I first came across my source recipe when, on a whim, I’d purchased a mango, a red pepper, and chicken and had no idea what to do with them. Thanks to Google, I found a curry recipe involving all these ingredients for a tangy sweet and spicy dish that calls upon themes from both Indian and Thai curries. Needless to say, I diverged from that initial recipe a great deal as I was limited to the spices I had handy; a collection of oddities (clove, sumac, ginger) assembled by my culinarily eclectic former-roommate who refused to eat normal food and insisted upon utilizing every dish and utensil available in our kitchen.
An old manager of mine, who was from India originally, told me that the idea of a single curry spice is a misconception — obviously you can buy “curry” in the spice aisle, but a curry is really a combination of spices differing by personal preference, by the type of meal, even by the family who makes them. Basically anyone can make a curry, it just depends on what they want to put in. For me, a curry was the mixture of whatever spice I had that made sense.
This is a very loose recipe, that you can follow to a “T” or subtly manipulate according to your tastes and preference. I can confidently say that the end result I came to was Tre-approved, thank god! I don’t have a picture yet, though I will hopefully snap one when I make this dish again. Curries aren’t inherently beautiful to look at…. I consider them to be beautiful on the inside. But please trust me when I say this is worth trying, especially if you love curry as much as I do!
Pineapple Chicken Curry
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 medium sized onion, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger (or dash ginger powder)
- 1 cup pineapple, diced (or substitute mango)
- 1/4 cup water or chicken stock
- Spices to taste *
- In a large non stick wok or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and ginger and sauté until lightly browned.
- Add chicken pieces and red pepper. Mix in salt and pepper to taste and add spices one at a time, mixing in between each spice to avoid buildup. Sauté until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- When chicken is fully cooked, stir in pineapple pieces and water (or chicken stock) and simmer for a few minutes.