Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pineapple Squid "Christmas" Curry #EatA2ZRecipeChallenge

When you think of "curry", what comes to mind? Is it a bowl made with the rich, creamy masala of English-Indian cuisine? Japanese Karē-Raisu? South African Bunny Chow? Or a Jamaican Lamb Curry perhaps?

If you ask around my house, you'll get one of two answers as to what the "best" curry is - Indian Butter Chicken (albeit a "cheat" version with a jarred sauce) or one of the colours of Thai curry paste. My mom in particular loves a well spiced (not necessarily hot, although they usually turn out that way) bowl of mainly vegetables and a little bit of protein, with enough sauce to soak into the rice or noodles underneath. Normally, the curries I make for the family are coconut milk based, but when I found myself with no such ingredient (and a yen for the exotic spices) one afternoon I decided to throw my conventions to the wind and try something new!

While coconut milk was absent from the cupboard, I did have an excess of pineapple juice, saved from a can of crushed pineapple after a batch of carrot muffins. As I stared at the jar, wondering what on earth I was going to use it for, I remembered a curry recipe I had spotted months ago that used pineapple juice as the liquid. With that inspiration in mind, I essentially cleaned out my fridge, adding all sorts of vegetables, frozen squid, a handful of nuts and a new twist - watermelon rind! We had served some watermelon at a family dinner the week before and I saved the rinds, for no other reason than I thought I might be able to use them somehow. Considering my success with Watermelon Rind Chutney and Candied Watermelon Rind, both spicy yet sweet delights, I figured I'd give it a try in this fruity, zippy stew. I also discovered that I didn't have quite enough of either red or green curry paste in the fridge, but by combining them I created a "Christmas" mixture that worked extraordinarily well in this respect.

"Christmas" Squid and Pineapple Curry

After it's simmer, the flavours had blended together and the squid had tenderized so well that it tasted better than our local Thai restaurant's pineapple dish. Mom spooned hers over brown Basmati, but I liked mine with brown rice noodles and spinach. What can I say?

This year's Eating the Alphabet Challenge is almost over, I can't believe it! We're up to the letters U, V & W now, and this watermelon rind-laced curry is what's on my table!

Pineapple Squid "Christmas" Curry
Serves 6
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
1 large, white-fleshed sweet potato, peeled and diced
5.5 oz carrots (whole baby or chopped large)
3 green garlic stalks, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 medium zucchini, chopped
5.5 oz chopped watermelon rind, dark green skin peeled off
1 tbsp red Thai curry paste
1 tbsp green Thai curry paste
½ tbsp fish sauce
1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1/2 cup water
1 lb pineapple-cut calamari (or shrimp if you don’t like calamari)
1 (15-oz) can cut bamboo shoots, drained
Zest of 1 lime
juice of 2 limes
3 tbsp minced lime basil or Thai basil
3 tbsp chopped cashews
2 tbsp finely grated coconut
  1. In a deep pot over medium heat, heat the sesame oil and add the onion, potato and carrots. 
  2. Sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the green garlic, regular garlic, ginger and zucchini. Cook 2-3 minutes.
  4. Whisk together the curry pastes, fish sauce, pineapple juice and water, add to the pot.
  5. Stir in the calamari.
  6. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
  7. Stir in the bamboo shoots, lime zest, and lime juice. Simmer until the vegetables and calamari are cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat, stir in the peanuts and coconut and serve over your favourite rice.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 220.1
Total Fat: 7.2 g
Cholesterol: 176.0 mg
Sodium: 561.1 mg
Total Carbs: 24.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.5 g
Protein: 15.3 g

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