Malaysian Prawn and Pineapple Curry

Hubby makes a LOT of curries - curries and tagines. He's often constrained by my need to eat fish or shellfish, but luckily there are any number of dishes from Asia and the Indian subcontinent which suit my requirements perfectly.  His favourite cookbooks are those by Atul Kochhar, Rick Stein and more recently my chum Dhruv Baker, and he also attended one of Atul's courses, and prepared a meal for the lunch service.  Hubby gained a number of useful insights into preparing curry, chief of which appears to be proper cooking of onions.  This recipe is actually a Malaysian curry, known as Udang Masak, and is based on one taught to Atul by Maria Mustafa...

3 tablespoons vegetable or groundnut oil
Flesh from 1/2 small pineapple, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons palm sugar
500g raw prawns, peeled but with tails left on, cleaned and deveined
3 small tomatoes, cut into quarters
300ml coconut milk

Serves 4-6

For the paste:
2 thick lemongrass stalks, thinly sliced
3 shallots, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 red chillies, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
4-6 candlenuts or macadamia nuts
A few spring onions, chopped into 2.5cm lengths to garnish

  • Pound or blend together all the paste ingredients with 2-3 tablespoons of water to make a fine paste. Heat the oil in a wok and fry the paste over a medium heat for 5-8min or until well cooked (there should be no smell of raw garlic and the oil should have started to separate out).
  • Add the pineapple and sauté for 2-3min, then add the sugar, some salt and 400ml water [see Notes]. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 3-5min or until the pineapple softens.
  • Add the prawns and continue to simmer for 4-5min or until the prawns turn pink and opaque. Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 2-3min, then pour in the coconut milk. Bring back to the boil, stirring well. Simmer gently for a further 3-5min, then serve, garnished with a few batons of spring onion.

  • The curry is quite fragrant, and very sweet.  If you're going to make it, I would suggest serving alongside a contrasting dish, perhaps Dhruv Baker's green bean salad, with red onion and black mustard seeds.  It's a delicious curry, and well-suited to those who don't like very spicy curries.
  • Hubby didn't add all of the water - he added around 150 ml he thinks, and that was still a little too much liquid.  Either Atul drains the curry a little before serving it, or something has been lost in the recipe process.  Below is the photo of Atul's dish.  (I should point out Hubby's is in a serving bowl, rather than an individual portion - hence the difference in quantity :0)