I have only recently discovered interest in Thai cuisine – my apologies, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. By recently, I mean the past month or so. Thai cuisine places a lot of emphasis on incorporating all five tastes at once: sweet, spicy, sour, bitter, and salty, which is a little overwhelming for my taste. What I have discovered, though, is that if you can find the perfect proportion for each flavor and pair it well with side dishes, you may be able to experience an explosion of flavors like you never had before.
There are two food staple of mine whenever I visit Southeast Asia – Spicy Black Pepper Crab and Pineapple Fried Rice. Pineapple fried rice has several variations in its seasoning, including the use of fish sauce, curry powder, soya sauce, etc. I opted for curry powder, salt, sugar, onions, and fresh pineapples, topped with dried meat (adds a delicious salty richness to balance out the sweetness of pineapples and cranberries), almond slices, and cranberries. The key to making a great pineapple fried rice is to scoop the fried rice into the pineapple boat, cover it with foil, and bake at 225-250F in the oven for 15 more minutes in order to infuse the scent of fresh pineapple into the rice.
Our pineapple fried rice dinner was served with chicken satay (marinated in peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, lemon juice, curry powder, brown sugar and hot chili sauce), and a sweet chili sauce dip. When I work up my courage one day, maybe I will attempt the Spicy Black Pepper Crab.