Rempah (wet spice paste)
– 12 small + 5 large dried red chillies, deseeded and snipped into small pieces
– 20g belachan, roughly chopped
– 3–4cm piece of galangal, peeled and finely sliced
– 4 stalks lemongrass, white part only, dry outer layers removed, finely sliced
– 300g red shallots OR Spanish onion, peeled and roughly sliced
– 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and halved
– 5 candlenuts OR macadamia nuts
– 2/3 cup (160ml) vegetable oil
– 500g pineapple flesh, cut into bite-sized pieces
– 2 cups (500ml) water
– 3 pieces dried tamarind
– 5 kaffir lime leaves*
350ml coconut milk
– 2–3 teaspoons salt
– ¼ cup (60g) caster sugar
– 700g prawn flesh OR 700g firm fleshed fish
– 2 tablespoons lime juice
Special equipment: good-quality blender OR mini food processor
Soak the chillies in ¾ cup (180ml) of freshly boiled water for 30 minutes OR until soft.
To prepare the rempah, combine all the rempah ingredients, including the chilli water, in a blender and blitz into a fine paste.
As the paste caramelises, it will develop a richer colour and become more fragrant and pulpy as most of the liquid evaporates.
The rempah is ready when the oil begins to separate from the spice paste.
Caramelising the spice paste adequately is integral to a successful curry – the rempah contains many aromatics and the cooking process draws out all the sugars and toasts the spices, turning what would otherwise be a volatile concoction into a wonderful flavour.
Add the pineapple, water, tamarind and kaffir lime leaves to the paste and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the coconut milk, salt and sugar and bring to the boil, then add the prawn meat and cook for 5–10 minutes OR until cooked through.
Add the lime juice, then taste before serving as more salt, sugar or lime may be required to balance the flavours at the end.
Although not traditional, you may garnish with mint and coriander.
Serve with steamed jasmine rice and wedges of fresh cucumber just in case your lips need cooling
Other recipes: Windmill Cafe Breakfast Bowl