Ever since the in-laws arrived, we've been caved in trying to stay out of the 3-digit temperatures. The only solace has been walking on the beach in the evening dipping our feet in pleasantly cold waters, and eating cooling foods. It only helps that my MIL is a fantastic cook who has plenty of recipes I want to learn. We've been cooking up a storm already. As soon as she was out of jet-lag, we went and bought the ingredients to make Ananas Amti (Pineapple curry). A recipe I've wanted to learn from her first-hand ever since I got married.
My first encounter with this tangy, sweet and sour curry was at my wedding! My MIL gave her mother's recipe to our caterer, who did a very good job making it on a large scale. If you're married, you'll know how trying it is to eat at your own wedding while greeting hundreds of guests. Yet, I remember the taste of this amti very distinctly. It was quite special. My MIL made it today, and it was even better than how I remembered it. Although it's called amti, the color, consistency and flavors are more like kadhi. It has a simple yet fragrant tempering of ghee, cumin seeds and green chili - the classic flavors of kadhi. The pineapple chunks are then cooked in a mixture of cashew paste and coconut milk to make a very smooth and creamy curry. Slurp! For all the richness, this amti is a quick fix, especially if you buy canned coconut milk and pre-cut pineapple.
Ananas Amti - Pineapple Curry
2 1/2 Cups fresh,ripe pineapple chunks - the success of this curry depends on the quality of pineapple
1/2 Cup whole cashew nuts (or halved in the center)
1 Cup coconut milk
2 Tablespoons sugar (or as required)
Salt to taste
Lime juice as required (optional)
2 Tablespoons ghee
1 Teaspoon cumin seeds
2 Green chilies - slit vertically in the center
1/8 Teaspoon turmeric powder
- Cut pineapple in ~3/4 inch chunks. If the pineapple is not ripe/sweet enough, sprinkle some sugar on it and keep aside for 30 minutes. This brings out the juices and makes the pineapple taste better. You can use canned pineapple, but like anything else, fresh ones taste better.
- Soak cashew nuts in warm water so they soften.
- Once the pineapple and cashews are ready, take out 1/2 cup pineapple chunks and one third cashews and make a smooth paste.
- Heat ghee in a pot and add cumin seeds and green chilies. Once the cumin seeds splutter, add remaining pineapple chunks and a little bit of turmeric (only for slight color), and let the pineapple cook for a couple of minutes.
- Mix in pineapple-cashew paste, and the remaining cashews. Add a little bit of water if the mixture is too thick and let it boil for 4-5 minutes.
- Lower the heat, add coconut milk, salt to taste, and sugar you desire more sweetness. Mix everything well and turn off the heat. You don't want to cook this too long after adding coconut milk else it'll separate.
- Let the curry cool down a little, then sprinkle very little lime juice to add some tang. Taste and decide the balance between sweet and sour to your liking. Do not add lime juice to hot curry - it can taste bitter.
Serve this amti with hot rotis or puris. It is heavenly with the decadence of cashew paste and coconut milk. The sweet, bursting pineapple is just perfect for a summer meal.