Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sweet Ananas

One of the most prized fruits is "ananas" or popularly known as Pineapple. Christopher Columbus called them pina de indes (pine of the Indians). This tropical gem possesses sweet scent and tart flavours, making it a versatile ingredient to be used in both savoury and sweet dishes. 

Although pineapple is available year round, their best season is from March to July. This tropical fruit is native to Paraguay in South America, Columbus the explorer brought them to Spain when he discovered the Americas in 1493, and it has spread around the world on ships just like tomatoes- that's another story!

There are hundreds of varieties of pineapples around the world. Locally, we have Cayenne or Hawaiian which is best for canning, Formosa or Queen is the sweetest grown in Bicol region, the native Philippine red is cone-shaped and grown for its fiber, Cabezona is the largest and other varieties include Java, Sugar, Loaf and Abakka each are different in sizes and flavour notes. Philippines is one of the major producers of pineapples in the world.

When buying pineapple, make sure the leaves are fresh and deep green in colour with no traces of yellow or brown. Choose fruit that are free of bruises, soft spots and molds. Smell should be fragrant sweet not musty, sour and fermented. This tropical fruit does not ripen after they are picked, unlike bananas the starch will not convert to sugar once it is harvested. Turn the fruit upside down and scan its bottom for yellow colouring to pick a ripe pineapple. This indicates that the sugar has already developed in the fruit. There is no difference in quality between large and small pineapples, so size doesn’t really matter. Fresh pineapples do not stay long, they perish quickly at room temperature and they cannot be stored in refrigerator for long periods, consume as early as possible.

Nutritional Facts :

·         Low in calories ( 50 cal per 100g). No saturated fats or cholesterol.
·         Rich in soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, pectin.
·         Contains enzymes that helps in digestion of food.
·         Anti inflammatory, anti-clotting and anti-cancer
·         Helps fight arthritis, indigestion and worm infestation
·         Excellent source of antioxidant vitamin C, Vitamin A , B complex group of vitamins like folates, thiamine, riboflavin and minerals like potassium.
·         Helps in controlling heart rate and blood pressure

Pineapple and Chicken Salad

3 cups Chicken breast(boneless), cooked and diced
1 ½ cups Celery, chopped
½ cup Pineapple, cut into chunks
¾ cups Mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper to taste
Boiled Egg, sliced


Combine all ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve on lettuce and garnish with sliced egg on top

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

1 cup Fresh Pineapple, cut into chunks plus ½ cup for garnish
Vegetable Oil
2 pcs Shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 pc Green Chilli (Siling Haba), thinly sliced
1 pc Egg, beaten
½ cup Green peas
¼ cup Raisins
½ cup Unsalted Cashews (whole)
¼ cup Chicken Stock
3 cups Cooked Rice
2 tsp Curry powder
½ tsp Sugar
3 tblspn Fish Sauce
Garnish :
Coriander(fresh), chopped
Spring Onion, finely sliced

Using your clean hands, mix 1 tblspn of oil with rice to separate any chunks. Set aside.
In a cup, combine fish sauce, sugar and curry powder together.
Add1-2 tblspn oil in a wok over high heat. Sauté Shallots, garlic and chilli until aromatic.  Quickly Stir in egg, green peas, raisin and cashew.  Add 1 tblspn chicken stock at a time, making sure that wok is not dry. Add 1 cup pineapple chunks, cooked rice and fish sauce mixture. Continue to stir fry for 5 to 8 minutes.
Serve with cilantro, spring onion and pineapple on top.

Grilled Pineapple with Vanilla Ice Cream

1 pc Pineapple, sliced
¼ cup Brown Sugar
1 tblspn Cinnamon Powder
Juice and Zest of 1 pc Lime
Vanilla Ice Cream


Combine and marinate Pineapple in brown sugar and cinnamon powder for 30 to 60 minutes.

Cook on a hot grill pan until you have grill marks on each side. Remove and toss with lime juice. Serve with Vanilla ice cream and sprinkle with Lime Zest.

Food Notes:
  1. Pineapple can be cut and peeled by chopping off the crown and base. Then, slice off skin and carving remaining eyes with the tip of your knife. Depending on the size, sometimes it is easier to use pineapple “corers”
  2. Best paired with bacon, brandy, coconut, cucumber, hazelnut and cointreau or kirsch, mint , rum or vanilla.
  3. Article Published, Cook Magazine July 2013