Chili chicken and fresh pineapple

Chili chicken and fresh pineapple

Vegetarian Sam likes to have lots of fruits when she’s home on weekends. Speedy bought a whole pineapple last Saturday but Sam was not able to come home. The pineapple won’t stay fresh until the next weekend so Speedy finally skinned it.

As he did so, on the other end of the kitchen island, I was prepping a whole chicken for lunch. I had cut the bird up into serving size pieces but I still hadn’t decided how I was going to cook it. I was thinking chicken kaldereta but, on second thought, I felt a stew was too heavy for lunch on a humid day. My eyes wandered to the pineapple, I noticed how Speedy was popping pieces into his mouth as he sliced and cut, and I explaimed, “Hep, hold it! Leave some for the chicken.”

And I went on to make this chili chicken and fresh pineapple dish. With bold and vibrant flavors and colors, the browned chicken is braised in the natural juices that the pineapple expels during cooking.

Recipe: Chili chicken and fresh pineapple

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, about 1.2 kg
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. of lime (or lemon or kalamansi) juice
  • 1/4 c. of corn starch
  • about 1 c. of cooking oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • a knob of ginger, grated
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 finger chilis, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, one thinly sliced; the other, left whole
  • patis (fish sauce), to taste
  • 2 c. of pineapple chunks
  • snipped cilantro, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken into serving-size pieces. Cook the breast separately and use for another dish — Waldorf salad, for instance.
  2. Sprinkle the cut-up chicken with salt and pepper. Mix. Throw in the corn starch and toss to coat each piece of chicken well.
  3. Heat the cooking oil.
  4. Over high heat, fry the chicken in two to three batches until nicely browned. You are not cooking the chicken through at this point, you’re just creating a nice crust to give it texture as well as adding flavors by allowing the natural sugars of the chicken to caramelize a bit. So, don’t cook the chicken to death.
  5. Drain the chicken. Pour off the oil leaving only about a tablespoonful. DO NOT scrape off whatever browned bits are stuck on the bottom of the pan.
  6. Reheat the pan. Saute the onion, garlic, ginger, sliced kaffir lime leaf and chilis, scraping the bottom of the pan to let the browned bits mix into the vegetables.
  7. Add the bell pepper, whole kaffir lime leaf and pineapple. Season lightly with patis.
  8. Throw in the chicken. Stir.
  9. Cover the pan, set the heat to low and let the chicken cook in the juices that the pineapple will expel. It’ll take about 20 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, taste the sauce (yes, sauce will magically appear!) and add more patis, if needed. If the pineapple is unfortunately not sweet enough, you can balance the flavors with a little honey.
  10. Chili chicken and fresh pineapple
  11. When the chicken is done, turn off the heat, give the sauce one last taste and make adjustments, if needed.
  12. Sprinkle the chili chicken and pineapple with cilantro before serving.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 3