This is a Northern Nonya dish where prawn is featured quite prominently. The use of pineapple adds the sour element to the dish which a very typical flavouring for Northern Nonya dishes where you can see the Thai influence in the ingredients, but the flavour is uniquely Nonya.
300g medium sized peeled prawns (shrimps)
3 tbsp Coriander seeds
1 stalk lemon grass, sliced
5 dried red chillles, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, drained and cut into small pieces
4 fresh red chillies, cut into small pleces
3-5-cm piece (thumb size), fresh young turmeric, peeled *
5 asian shallots, peeled
3 cloves garlic , peeled
4 tbsp cooking oil
1tsp belacan granules, (instead of the original belacan paste), mix with a bit of water to create a paste
200ml coconut cream, this is a thicker and richer than the coconut milk in cans. Use the ones in blocks or powder and add half the water, read instructions.
400ml or one can of coconut milk
1 small fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, quartered and cut into triangular pieces
Salt to taste
Note: You can buy fresh turmeric from either the Vietnamese shops in Hackney or in Chinatown.
1. Wash and drain the prawns, then pat dry with kitchen paper. Set aside.
Pound or blend the coriander until fine using a mortar and pestle or a blender. Add a little water during the pounding process to make a paste. Set aside.
2. Begin by pounding lemon grass until fine; then add each ingredient dried
chillies, fresh chillies, turmeric, shallots and garlic. If you are pounding, then make sure that each additional ingredient is finely pounded before you add the next one. If you are blending, then just do it until it resembles a paste.
3. Heat oil in a pot. Add blended ingredients and stir-fry for 1 minute over medium heat.
4. Add coriander and dried prawn/ belacan paste. For easier stir-frying, add coconut milk, a bit at a time. Especially if it looks too dry or is sticking to the pan, this also prevents burning.
5. When mixture starts to bubble, add the prawns and stir-fry for another minute.
6. Pour in remaining coconut milk, then add the pineapple and salt to taste. Simmer until pineapple pieces are soft.
7. Add coconut cream and continue cooking for a few more minutes.
8. Reduce heat, cover pot and simmer for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Serve with steamed white rice.
Note: Not good for freezing but it there probably won’t be any left as this is so yummy.