And so I bring home a taste of Phuket. Last Saturday, I cooked this chicken and pineapple rice and my daughters and I had it for lunch. I would have cooked it days earlier, heaven knows how excited I was to try it, but my older daughter (who took the photo for this article) is only home on weekends and I promised her I would wait until she was home before making this wonderful dish.
If you’re looking for an impressive way to serve rice for those special holiday meals, give this recipe a try. Not only does the presentation look festive and ultra sexy, the rice dish itself is guaranteed to make family and friends beg for a second, or even a third, helping. Slightly salty, slightly sweet, slightly spicy with a lemony aroma that blends perfectly with the pungent curry powder.
How difficult is it to cook this rice dish at home? Not difficult at all. The only challenging part is cutting the pineapple and scooping out the flesh without tearing the shell. If you’ve prepared fresh pineapple before, it shouldn’t be a problem. Other than that, it’s all just a matter of slicing, chopping and stirring.
- 1 whole fresh and very ripe pineapple
¾ c. of roasted cashew nuts
6 chicken thigh fillets (skinless, if you want to cut down on the fat considerably), thinly sliced
3 lemongrass stalks (light part only), bruised then finely sliced
1 tbsp. of curry powder
2 finger chilis, finely sliced
1 leek stalk (white and light green portion only), finely sliced
6 c. of cold cooked rice
¼ c. of chopped onion leaves
- Using a large sharp heavy knife, cut the pineapple in half lengthwise. Make sure that you cut through the leaves as well. Using a smaller knife, cut around the pineapple flesh, leaving a one-inch margin.
Scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
Arrange the shells on a platter. Roughly chop the pineapple flesh.
Heat the cooking oil. Add the chicken, curry powder and lemongrass. Season with salt. Cook until the chicken meat is no longer pink.
Add two finely sliced green chilis to the chicken. Stir. Add the finely sliced leek stalk to the pan. Stir.
Scoop out the remaining flesh and juice in the pineapple shells directly into the chicken in the pan. Stir and cook over high heat for about five minutes or until the mixture is almost dry.
Roughly chop the cashew nuts. It’s okay to leave some whole. Reserve them for garnish later.
Add the rice to the chicken. Next, add the cashew nuts. Lastly, add the chopped pineapple flesh and onion leaves.
Stir the rice well and cook, with occasional stirring, until everything is heated through. Add more salt if necessary.
Spoon the pineapple and chicken rice into the pineapple shells. Top with whole cashew nuts.
Cooking time (duration): 20 to 25 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 4 to 6