After stumbling upon fresh rambutans, test kitchen assistant Jake Cohen used this Malaysian tropical fruit to make this spicy and sweet summer curry.
Featured in: Working with Rambutans
Summer Rambutan Curry
Tender chicken breast with sweet rambutan and pineapple in a spicy curry broth makes for the perfect summer dish.
serves 4 people
1 tsp. ground turmeric
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves, torn
3 red Thai chiles, stemmed
1 stalk lemongrass, smashed, fibrous outer layers removed, and inner core thinly sliced
One 2-inch piece galangal root, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tbsp. peanut oil
1⁄2 small pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 1⁄2 cups coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced on a bias
1 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. palm sugar or light brown sugar
Cilantro leaves, to garnish
Lime wedges, for serving
Cooked white rice, for serving
Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, lime leaves, chiles, lemongrass, and galangal with the turmeric until a coarse curry paste is formed. Using a small paring knife, halve the rambutans and peel away their outer shell. Remove the soft flesh from the center nut, avoiding the papery skin that surrounds it, and place the flesh in a bowl.
In a 6-qt. saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high. Add the pineapple, and cook, stirring, until slightly caramelized, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pineapple to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, and then add the onions. Cook, stirring, until golden brown, 4 minutes. Add the curry paste, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes more.
Pour in the coconut milk and stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook, stirring, until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Stir in the chicken, and continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Add the reserved pineapple and rambutan, and cook until the fruit is warmed through, about 2 minutes.
Remove the curry from the heat, and stir in the fish sauce and palm sugar. Garnish with cilantro, and serve immediately with the lime wedges and rice.