I'm becoming more receptive to this savoury and sweet business, the fruit with meat jazz. It just seems to make sense now - all about a question of balance. Although I didn't love the place, I was most recently impressed by the grilled peach accompaniment to my smoked eel at 10 Greek Street and it got me thinking about classic fish and fruit combinations.
One that crops up repeatedly, especially in Thai cookery, is prawns with pineapple. I remember quite vividly as a kid being very excited that the prawn fried rice we'd get would be served in a hollowed out half of a pineapple. My dad would roll his eyes. This red curry has the essential savoury element of the fish sauce to balance out the sweetness of the pineapple. Simmered in spicy coconut gravy and packed full of vegetables, it's one of the most pleasing curries I've made.
Thai Red Prawn and Pineapple Curry
For the Paste:
20 dried red chillis, soaked in boiling water until soft and drained
2 stalks of lemongrass, tender part only
6 cloves of garlic
3 inch piece of galangal
3 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp white pepper
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp shrimp paste
1 tbsp palm sugar
25 large tail-on prawns (I use frozen raw ones, thawed from the Chinese supermarket)
A handful each of sugarsnap peas, baby sweetcorn and cherry tomatoes
1 tin of coconut milk
3 kaffir lime leaves
1 red pepper, sliced finely
1 tin of pineapple, or 1/4 fresh pineapple chopped into bite-sized chunks
1 handful of coriander, chopped roughly
fish sauce (to taste)
Whizz up the paste ingredients in a small blender. Fry 3 tbsp in oil slowly for 10 mins and add the kaffir lime leaves. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.
Add the slices of pepper and the baby sweetcorn and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes more. Throw in the sugarsnap peas, pineapple and the prawns and simmer for another three minutes (until the prawns have gone pink). Season with fish sauce (I like quite a lot) and serve with a handful of chopped coriander over rice and lime wedges.