Saturday, April 16, 2011

Jonesing for Pineapple Chow

Okay guys. Last Thursday night, I finished off my own test version of a Maracas beach style pineapple chow. (Insert shameless belch here.)
I told myself there wouldn’t be any photos, because I didn’t know how the result would turn out, but I knew how I hoped it would turn out.
Was this a night vaps? Definitely yes, and all the more weird because I came home tired as hell from another draining workdayintoevening and stepped into the kitchen to find these… well, they were actually a trio before I hewed into the smallest of the three.

They had looked so cute, the three of them, minus their green, spiny tops. The smell coming from the kitchen was so inviting that I almost forgot how pooped I was… for all of five seconds.
A shower and a nap later, I had entered the kitchen, still smelling like a fruit stall. I took the smallest of the group, barely a handful, sniffed the yellow scar and grabbed my Santoku. 


Peeled and sliced, I seasoned him up, guided by memories of trips to Maracas beach and busting open the plastic bag of said chow speckled with bits of hot red pepper that we’d always purchase on the way. And at the first bite, we’d always make that sound. (You know the one… when you bite the pepper and do that sharp intake of breath while a rush of saliva tries in vain to coat your tongue and lips… *thhhhhhhhhhhhh..*).

*snaps fingers* 

Okay, that was Thursday night. Today is Saturday and the evening is scorching. The memories of beach limes were playing with my brain, which then commanded my feet to head back to the kitchen and to make yet another batch, only this one would not have those bits of red habanero pepper, since I hadn’t any more. Peppersauce wouldn’t do this one justice, in my opinion. So, I worked with what I had...

I peeled the  pineapple by cutting off the top and bottom, then took my knife and ran it downward along the outside of the fruit in strips, like this.
All peeled...
Once peeled, the next problem is dealing with the eyes. Some people go around each one with the tip of a knife, but I prefer to slice them off in threes and fours, a method I learned from watching a Rastaman selling fruits on Chacon Street in Port of Spain some years ago.

After which, it will look like this.
Next, I cut some slices. I’m going for a ¼ inch sized slice or so here.

Transferred them to a bowl.

Now for the seasonings. First thing was the chadon beni, a leaf that’s similar to cilantro in the US. I washed these and just used a couple of the leaves, since the pineapples were really tiny.
I folded them up and began slicing them finely.
Then took my knife and ran it through to mince them up and added them to the slices.
Next was the garlic. Now you have to be careful with this, in my opinion. Too little, and your chow tastes weak. Too much and people will cry because of the burn. One large clove is all I needed here. So, first I sliced him up.
Then minced him up.
I decided to try a technique I saw on TV to get it even finer. I took a pinch of salt and sprinkled it on the minced garlic.
Then, I took my knife and literally tried pushing the salt into it by swiping my knife against the garlic a few times on the board.
 In no time, it was broken down into a thick, salty, garlicky paste.
(Now, if I were adding fresh cut habanero, I would have used about a 1 inch piece, finely minced, minus the seeds. I could have substituted red pepper flakes, but I chose not to use them since I just wanted some flavour, not heat.)

All I needed now was a clean hand to do the mix-up. Had to move gently of course, since these slices are thinner than what we get in the plastic bags, which are about ¾ of an inch or so.
And that’s all there is! Looks delicious already!
Now all I had to do is put the majority into a container, making sure to put in all the liquid – that’s one of the THE best parts of a pineapple chow – take out my portion, cover the rest, take a bite and say “Mmm-hmmm!”

So, there you have it. Halcy’s Pineapple chow. It may not be exactly like the Maracas version, but this works for me. It tastes even better when you leave the seasoned pineapple soaking for a while on the counter. Just turn them gently in the container it’s sitting in (make sure that the container has a tight cover), so the juices and flavours continue to meld.  I’m enjoying mine cold and the garlic, salt and chadon beni are just as sharp, literally making my taste buds dance.  

Be sure to give it a try, with or without the habanero. I promise you’ll love the taste. Who knows, you might even want to pack some to take with you on your next beach outing and save a few dollars, ent?

So, continue to enjoy your day, and like I always say, doh forget to mind de pot. Take care of yourselves! :-)


  1. Looks so yummy! Thanks for that garlic and salt tip. :-)

  2. No problem Sadie dear! Still munching on a couple pieces myself... doubt there will be any left by tomorrow, hahahaa!

  3. Don't forget the creme of the crop Health Wealth Pineapple Chow, available at Hilo foodstores.

  4. A pineapple chow always hits the spot doesn't it?

  5. Now I'm dribbling here at 12 a.m. in the morning. Nice post Halcy :-)

  6. Be sure to check out my introductory post of you:

  7. Hi Cynthia, I just saw the post and photo! Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for talking about me! *smiles wide*

    I too had blogged about meeting you; did you see it? Here's the link:

    Again, I am so grateful. Meeting you was such a pleasure Cynthia, and I look forward to us talking more. I have so many questions to ask as well, LOL!

    In the meantime, you take care and I look forward to sharing more with you, G and our fellow bloggers. Happy Cooking! Muah! :-)

  8. I came by way of Cynthia's blog. A warm welcome to the world of food blogs.

    Never had Pineapple Chow before. It looks so delicious. Thank you for sharing and I will be back soon.

  9. Halcy, first of all this pineapple chow looks amazing. Can't wait to try it! Hmmmm... you've got my mouth watering. ;)

  10. I came by from Cynthia's to visit you, and to be greeted my this wonderfully refreshing and delicious recipe!

  11. A warm hello to Tuty, Lily and Soma; glad to meet you, lol! Thank you so much for visiting my little blog and huge thanks again to Cynthia for helping you find me, hahahaa! Keep visiting, cuz lots more will be coming, okay? Take care of yourselves, my dears! :-D

  12. Hi what juice do you add to the chow?

    1. Hi Oli, how are you doing?
      Well, to answer your question, you'd be surprised to know that there's no extra juice added. The pineapple itself will create that flavoured liquid once the salt, garlic and fresh culantro (or chadon beni as we call it here) are added.
      Thanks for writing and I hope you try it out. Have a great day! :-D