Thai cuisine is one that has been greatly influenced by all its surrounding neighbors. To me the most obvious influence has been from Indian cuisine, and this is because of the spices — and though very different but still similar, the curries. Thai food is unique in that it has created this perfectly well balanced harmony of five flavors that are present in every dish or in every meal. The flavors are salty, sweet, sour, bitter or aromatic, and heat or spicy. The five flavors are not particular to that order.
Some examples of how these flavors are brought into a dish can be salty from shrimp paste or fish sauce, sweet from sugar or sweet fruits, sour from lime juice, bitter can come from bitter melons or aromatic herbs and green vegetables, heat of course from chilies or curry pastes. Though not included in the five main flavors, but quite common in many dishes is the sweet and creaminess of coconut milk.
Most people when they think of Thai food they think heat, but it really is not all about the chile. Thai cuisine focuses on bringing out all of those flavors that in turn compliment each other and create a magical meal. I love spicy food, but spicy to where it doesn’t over power the rest of the dish. I want to taste everything in a meal, not just the heat. What’s the point then, might as well grab whole chilies and start munching away. I do believe that in any type of cuisine the heat or spiciness is should be a touch of what the rest of the dish is about. When I’ve heard people or friends say they have never tried or don’t like Thai or other spicy cuisines because they are not able to handle the heat, it makes me feel a bit sad. To me it’s a pity for people to miss out on such scrumptious meals when they really shouldn’t have to. (By the way my recipes can all be adjusted to fit your personal “heat” level.)
Today I have a recipe to share that is a big favorite of not only mine but my husband and one of our frequent dinner guest: Thai chicken pineapple curry with cherry tomatoes and bamboo shoots. Just writing this makes my mouth water. It so easy and fast to make, I guarantee they’ll want seconds. The curry paste I used is my own from the previous recipe found here but you may use store bought if you’d like.
- 2 chicken breast
- 1 cup fresh pineapple, bite-size pieces
- half a cup of bamboo shoots
- 12 red cherry tomatoes
- 2 Tbs red curry paste (my recipe can be found here)
- 1 Tbs grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1.5 Tbs fish sauce
- 1 tsp sugar ( if using canned pineapple omit)
- ½ cup chicken broth (vegetarians can use vegetable)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 Tbs vegetable oil
- ½ tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 red chile pepper, sliced , extra spicy optional
- fresh cilantro or basil leaves to garnish, optional
- In separate cutting boards dice the pineapple and chicken into thick bite size pieces. In a large pan or wok warm up oil, then add the chicken and cook all the way through. Next add the ginger and garlic , cook for a few minutes then add the curry paste stir to combine with chicken. Then add the chicken broth, sugar,turmeric ,bamboo shoots and fish sauce. Add this point you can also add the extra chili pepper if your using it. Under medium heat cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk and stir, next add the cherry tomatoes and pineapple, cook for another 5-8 minutes at which point the tomatoes should be soft. (The coconut milk is added toward the end to prevent curdling.)
- Done.When serving you can add a couple of fresh basil or cilantro leaves for decoration. Serve with steamed white rice. Makes great leftovers, that’s if you have any left.
- Tip: You can use drained canned pineapple if fresh isn’t available but it taste so much better with fresh.
My Luscious Thai Chicken Pineapple Curry recipe was chosen to be included in this beautiful cookbook. There are many talented bloggers in this book and it is a great honor to be among them. You can find me recipe on pages 90 and 91.