Newbie Nonya Cooks Prawn Pineapple Curry

Prawn pineapple curry recipe

Savoury AND sweet — a sacrilegious offence or a match made in heaven?

Before you give this recipe a skip, just know that I’ve received positive reviews from people who are not a fan of the savoury-sweet combo. Okay, okay, I just have 1 person from that camp saying they’ve changed their mind. It is a start!

Give Prawn Pineapple Curry a little love — it is spicy with a sweet aftertaste. Depending on the ripeness of the pineapple, it adds a sour touch that ties the savoury with the sweet together.

Why am I harping on how great this curry is?!

I recently discovered this unique Peranakan dish. With Dad not a fan of prawns (I know, right?!), this curry was missing from my childhood. What makes this curry delicious is the different flavours you get from each bite. Plus it is easy to cook!

This recipe takes 20 minutes to prep, 20 minutes to cook, and serves 4–5 people.


The ingredients list will be separated into [A] — The Rempah, [B] — Prep the Pineapple and Prawn, and [C] — Flavour Boost. The rempah or masala is a paste that makes the base of the curry.

[A] — The Rempah

The rempah is a blend of fresh ingredients to set you up nicely for the Prawn Prawn Pineapple Curry. Here is what you will need:

Chili, garlic, shallots, and turmeric to make the rempah for prawn pineapple curry

Chop or cut the ingredients in [A] into smaller pieces. Since it will be blended, there is no need to chop them up neatly. Blend till smooth.

Quick tip: Add 1 tablespoon of water and 1 tablespoon of cooking oil (whichever you prefer) to get a smooth texture in your rempah.

How to clean a prawn before cooking it
Guide to cleaning a prawn

[B] — Cleaning and Prepping the Prawn and Pineapple

500 g of prawns — veins removed, shells intact. Removing the head is optional

3/4 of a pineapple — skin removed, sliced

Quick tip: Slice the pineapple 30 minutes before you start cooking. This prevents it from going soggy.

[C] — Flavour Boost

Coconut milk, lemongrass, and lime leaf as ingredients to add flavour to curry

Bruise the lemongrass by using the back of your knife and “chop” it to release the flavour. If you can smell it, you’re doing it right. The optional ingredients, crushed candlenut and sambal belacan can be used if it is available in your pantry. Candlenut is a thickener and gives the curry a nutty taste. A good addition if you are not a BIG fan of savoury-sweet. Sambal Belacan is fermented shrimp chili paste which is spicy and gives a strong seafood flavour to the dish.

Full disclosure, sambal belacan is an acquired smell. It can stink up your kitchen, hence it remains optional.


  1. Fry [A] in oil. Don’t be afraid to add lots of oil, you’ll need it to keep the rempah from drying out. If you wish to add belacan, fry it together with the rempah.
  2. Add your bruised lemongrass into the fried rempah. Fry till the oil splits from the rempah. You should see red oil spots dotting the surface.
  3. Next, add 3 tablespoons of coconut milk and 1 litre of water. Let the curry simmer. Taste it. If you prefer a thicker taste, add more coconut milk. But it should not overpower the spiciness of the chilli. If you’re adding candlenut, this is where you can add it. Do note that candlenut thickens the gravy so add this first before you add more coconut milk. The colour of the curry should be bright orange.
  4. Add the pineapples. Allow the favour to soak into the slices.
  5. Add the prawn. Be careful, do not overcook it. Once it turns pink, switch off the heat.
  6. Add salt to taste. Top it off with the lime leaves for fragrance.

That’s it! Eat it with plain rice accompanied with a stir-fry vegetable, or a baguette.

If you like the recipe, let me know! Give this story a CLAP.

I would love to see what you’re cooking too, share your cooking journey in the comments section. Enjoy the recipe!



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Purnima Balraju

Purnima Balraju


An individual spirit who loves hair buns, scarves and tea. Capable of drinking an obscene amount of tea and hopes to taste every single variety by 2020.