Malay-Style Pineapple Curry (Pajeri Nenas)
Malay-Style Pineapple Curry
Pajeri nenas is one of my favorite traditional Malay dishes to make at home. It's typically served with steamed white rice, and it's perfect for lunch or dinner.
I learned to cook this recipe with my mother. One of the main components is kerisik (desiccated coconut), which adds a nutty flavor and makes the sauce thicker and creamier. The way you make kerisik is by taking freshly grated coconut, toasting it in a pan until it is golden brown, and then pounding it to make a thick, oily paste. I remember helping my mother pound the toasted coconut until the oil rose to the top. That's how you know it's ready.
When I make this dish at home, I make the kerisik ahead of time. I like to make it from scratch, as it produces a more authentic flavor. I use only my traditional kitchen tools, including my mortar and pestle.
This dish definitely brings me back to my mother's kitchen. The smell of the sweet pineapple, nutty kerisik, spicy curry, and creamy coconut milk is just divine.
I recommend serving this dish with steamed white rice. If you are a vegetarian, this dish is a must-try!
- 1 medium pineapple, peeled and sliced
- 3 cups diluted coconut milk
- 3-4 tablespoons curry powder of your choice (mix it with some water to make a paste)
- 1 tablespoon kerisik
- 2 strings curry leaves
- 2 inches ginger, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3 shallots, thinly sliced
- 4-5 cloves
- 3-4 cardamom
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2-3 star anise
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Make the kerisik: Toast the shredded coconut on a pan without oil over medium heat. Toast the coconut until it turns golden brown. Grind the toasted coconut using a mortar and pestle to make a thick, oily paste. You can save the extra kerisik in the fridge.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Saute the curry leaves with shallots, garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick, cardamon, star anise, and cloves. Mix well.
- Add the curry paste and 1 tablespoon of kerisik to the pan. Continue stirring for 3 minutes.
- Throw in the pineapple into the pan and stir.
- After a few minutes, add the coconut milk, stir, and let it simmer.
- Add the salt and sugar. Check for taste.
- Let the sauce continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes or until the pineapple is softened.
- Place the pineapple curry into bowls for serving.
- Enjoy with white steamed rice and your favorite side dishes.
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