Monday, October 5, 2009

Thai-inspired Red Curry w/ Pineapple - Ginger Salad

Allow me to introduce you to the new love of my life-- a queen of juicy, delectable sweetness--Kapalua Gold Pineapple:

Isn't she gorgeous?

I wish I could send smells over the Internet, so you too could indulge in the sweet, luxurious, and mouth-watering aroma that fills the air when she's around. She's a variety called Kapalua Gold all the way from Maui. I usually stick to locally grown produce, but since pineapples don't grow very well (or rather not at all) in the cool Pacific Northwest, I figure I'm allowed some indulgences (I've eaten 3 already).

Grown on organically-managed Kapalua Farms, this particular pineapple was labeled as "transitional," which means that the land it was grown on is in transition to becoming certified organic. The growing methods and land management involved in its production were all organic, but the land has not been certified yet.

I'm not one to quibble over prices when it comes to organic produce--it's worth it-- hands-down! But, if you run across transitional produce, it is great value for money; it's essentially organic, but usually a little cheaper than certified organic.

You can also see from the label that this pineapple was hand-picked. This is a very good thing. When produce is hand-picked, it usually means that it has been lovingly grown and picked when ripe--as opposed to being callously harvested by some machine before ripening. Harvesting unripe fruit is a common practice with mechanical harvesters. This is because unripe fruit is less susceptible to damage from a rough harvesting method than ripe fruit would be.

But I digress, let's move on. My lovely pineapple friend got me dreaming of exotic flavors...and that's how I ended up with this meal.

Pineapple Salad

1 delicious pineapple, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks

You may want to add more or less of the following to suite tastes or volume of pineapple:

~1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
~ 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

finely chopped cilantro and/or lime zest to garnish

Pineapple salad

Thai-Inspired Red Curry Paste
Begin by making a curry paste. Or skip this step and use a store-bought one.

I'm going to call this a Thai-inspired curry paste, because I doubt it's anything close to an authentic one; I just threw stuff in based on ingredients listed on Thai red pastes in the store. BTW, it turns out more orange than red.

6-8 red hot chili peppers, roughly chopped
12 inches-worth of lemon grass stalk, outer leaf removed and thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh ginger, roughly chopped, ~ 3 inches-worth
1 medium shallot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 kefir lime leaves
1 tablespoon coriander seed
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1/4 cup vegetable oil of choice

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until a uniform paste forms. Add more oil as necessary if the paste seems too dry. This should make roughly 1 cup.

Vegetable Curry
Select a good pound or two of veggies, I went with the following (~ 2.5 lbs total):

--1 large eggplant, chopped into 3/4 inch pieces
--1/2 lb green beans, de-stemmed
--1 large head of broccoli, chopped into large florets
--1 large carrot, thickly sliced

1 tablespoon raw, unfiltered coconut oil ( or oil of your choice)
2-tablespoons Thai red curry paste ( see above or use store-bought)
1 medium shallot, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 inches worth of lemon grass stalk, bashed to release flavor
2 kefir lime leaves
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
(ok, I know that this is just the paste over again in non-paste form, but I'm a maniac)
14 oz coconut milk (I love this brand)
2 cups veggie broth
fresh lime to garnish

In a large skillet, heat coconut oil, lemon grass and kefir lime until the aroma starts to waft through the air like a magical potion. Add the shallot and garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Toss in the paste and let it all meld for another minute or two.

Now, toss in your veggies and stir fry them until they are fully coated with the paste and garlic.

When the veggies are still crisp, but beginning to tender, add the coconut milk, bring it to a simmer and mix in the tamarind paste and soy sauce. Add veggie broth as desired to reach a saucy, yet thick consistency:

Serve it up before the veggies start to overcook. Mine got a little overdone:


  1. Wow,this looks really good! I love anything in a red curry sauce.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. This is definitely going on my list of things to make.


  2. Hi Alicia,

    It was tasty, but the pineapple was the best part...perfectly balanced sweet, but acidic too. And they are so juicy they quench your thirst just by eating them.

  3. Rose,

    I love pineapple in anything, but haven't seen that type on the east coast. Maybe it is here and I missed it. I will check later this week when I get to Whole Foods. Is that where you found it?

    Good information on the transitional produce. I have also seen it marked eco-farmed here which meant the same thing. I wonder if there is a standard term they should be using. Do you know?


  4. I think Eco-farmed means that it is produced in a sustainable manner, but may or may not be 100% organic.

    Transitional means that the farmer is observing all the methods needed to be certified organic. The land has to be organically managed for three consecutive years before it can be USDA certified organic.

    At least, I think that's the main difference...don't hold me to it.

    A lot of eco-farmed stuff is probably organic, or pretty close. I know farmers who grow organic, but don't want to pay the fees for certification and yearly renewal, hence they cannot market their produce as Organic.

  5. Rose,

    There are farmers here that grow organic but don't want to go through the process too. Apparently it is rather onerous. It is such a shame that the government can make anything a problem. Imagine if they intentionally tried it to make things difficult.

    Living near DC we have a lot of friends that are government employees. They tell stories that I find difficult to believe.

    talk to you soon,


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...