Pineapple Curry or Gulai Nenas is often made with shrimps but variations with fish and salted fish do exist. Although the anglicized term for gulai is also curry, it is distinctly different from curry in that the spice mix for gulai normally consists of fresh chilies, turmeric, lemongrass, belachan (shrimp paste), and tamarind. In many cases, gulai tends to be hot, spicy, tangy, and not creamy like curries. It is definitely a Southeast Asian concoction.
The tangy taste in Gulai Nenas comes from the pineapples. The coconut milk helps mellow out the sharp taste, making it irresistible. Be sure to have lots of steamed white rice available as this dish really whets one’s appetite. Do check out my other gulai recipe, Chicken Curry with Kaffir Lime Leaves.
Belachan or shrimp paste is commonly found in Southeast Asian cuisine. It is made from fermented ground shrimp, sun dried, and cut into blocks. It varies in color from a pinkish grey to a dark chocolate brown. The kitchen should be well ventilated when using this ingredient as it has a very strong and potent flavor. Do buy the best quality you can find as a little of it goes a long way.
- ½ medium sized pineapple, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 lb (450g) salmon, skin removed and cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup (240ml) coconut cream
- 1 cup (240ml) water
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 5 red Anaheim chilies
- 1 stalk lemongrass, thinly slice the last 4 inches from the bottom
- 5 to 6 shallots or 1 onion, cut into small pieces
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-inch cube belachan, shrimp paste (optional)
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
Grind spice paste ingredients, except ground turmeric, in a blender adding a little water if necessary. Remove and stir in ground turmeric.
Heat oil in a medium sized non-reactive pot. Add spice paste and fry until fragrant, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Pour in coconut cream and water. Bring to a boil. Add pineapples and salt. Bring it back to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add salmon and continue cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes.
Serve with a steaming bowl of white rice.
If you have leftovers, dilute the sauce a little with water and add some thick rice noodles, julienned cucumber, sliced chilies, and mint leaves for a delicious bowl of Pineapple and Salmon Laksa the next day. This dish is reminiscent of the Penang Nyonya Siamese Laksa. Although it is called Siamese Laksa, this is a Nyonya dish.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8)