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What Is Pineapple Curry?

By Angela Farrer
Updated May 16, 2024
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Pineapple curry is a dish with its origins in both Indian and Thai cuisine, with some ingredient variations according to local favorites. Cooking with pineapple for this type of dish typically involves cooking it in skillet just enough to soften it and bring out the flavor. This fruit curry recipe usually uses the sweetness of the pineapple to counter balance the spicy flavor of the curry and other savory seasonings of choice. Versions of pineapple curry that originate from India are often meatless according to cultural vegetarian preferences, and some recipes with Thai influences will call for chicken to be cooked along with the mixture of spices before adding the pieces of pineapple.

Curry powder is often the main seasoning in this dish, although some cooks like to add other spices, such as cumin, ginger, chili powder, and mustard powder. Fresh minced garlic is also a favorite flavor component among fans of pineapple curry. Although these spices have plenty of flavor, experienced cooks sometimes report that it can be easy to select too many of them and over-season the dish. A general rule of thumb is to stick with two to three favorite spices in addition to the curry.

Some pineapple curry recipes from Southern India include a paste of grated coconut known as coconut masala. This ingredient adds some texture to the dish and complements the pineapple flavor. Coconut masala is typically made ahead of time by blending a mixture of shredded coconut, ground cinnamon, chili powder, salt, and a small amount of water in a food processor until the paste has a smooth consistency. The finished coconut masala is then usually mixed with the spices and cooking oil and sauteed until slightly brown before the pineapple pieces are added.

Cooking Thai pineapple curry generally involves cutting chicken thighs or breasts into small pieces before cooking the meat in a skillet along with oil, diced onions, curry, and other spices of choice. Many of these recipes call for crushed pineapple with juice, along with a chicken stock. These liquid ingredients create a sauce that is both sweet and savory, which some cooks like to thicken by adding a small amount of sour cream as well. This kind of pineapple curry is often served over rice and garnished with peeled orange slices, diced green onion, or a few sprigs of cilantro.

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Discussion Comments

By fBoyle — On Jun 03, 2014

Pineapple curry can also be vegetarian. I just replace the chicken with another vegetable like gourd.

By ZipLine — On Jun 02, 2014

@discographer-- I've had the Kerala version which is made with coconut paste and masala and it was quite good. I'd definitely recommend it to you.

The hardest part of cooking all curries is preparing the spices and the pastes. If you have this part complete, the rest is easy which just involves sauteing the ingredients and then boiling and simmering them.

I love curry, especially pineapple curry, for its sweet and spicy taste. But it took me a while to get the recipe right. If you enjoy cooking, then I'm sure it will be easy for you.

By discographer — On Jun 02, 2014

I'm surprised by the different varieties of pineapple curry. I thought that this dish is just associated with India. But I've discovered that there is also Sri Lankan pineapple curry and Thai pineapple curry. And there are different Indian versions too, like Kerala pineapple curry. They look fairly similar in appearance -- a yellow colored, thick curry with chunks of chicken and pineapple.

I'm going to make pineapple curry next week but I'm not sure which version I should make. Any recommendations?

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