I was just looking back through old photos from my time living in China. One of the delightful things about living in China was the confluence of other cultures and the exposure to many different types of cuisines. This, in turn, influenced my own cooking palette. After having this dish, not only did I make it myself, I decided it was good enough to document by way of photos. Since a picture is worth 1000 words, I will post the photos and explain how I cooked it. Because there are no quantities for ingredients and no specific cooking techniques, I suppose this is an intermediate rather than a beginner recipe. Also, I imagine it goes without saying that this dish can be made vegan by leaving out the pork.
First, The ingredients from the wet market. This includes
- one whole pineapple,
- one mango,
- about a pound of pork,
- water chestnuts,
- sweet ginger,
- garlic, and
- fried tofu.
As shown in the next photo, other ingredients include
- rice vinegar,
- a touch of sugar,
- sesame oil,
- cornstarch, and
In the next picture, the pork has been chopped into bite-size cubes and is marinating in a mixture of soy, rice vinegar, garlic, a touch of sugar, and a spot of sesame oil.
Notice how the pineapple (above) has been hollowed out and the flesh cut into cubes. Because the pineapple flesh is not going to be cooked, it is also placed in the same bowl with another ingredient which will not be cooked, the cilantro. The other ingredients have also been chopped into bite-size pieces and are ready to be used. (For those who are beginners to the techniques of cooking, having the ingredients all prepped and ready to go before starting the actual cooking process is an important part of getting the timing right on any recipe. When it’s time to add the onions, or time to thicken the sauce, the last thing you want to do is to still be chopping the onions or still be measuring the corn starch!)
The hollowed out shells of the pineapple have been placed in a serving dish, shown below:
My cooktop in China had two burners. In these photos of cooking this dish, items are cooked successively, set aside, and then mixed at the very end. If I had been using my current five burner, larger cook top, I might have done more than one at a time.
First, I sautéed the cashews until they were brown. Then the meat, then the veggies.
Then, after the gravy was made, the chopped ingredients were added back in one by one and stirred.
I mentioned that the pineapple and cilantro are not cooked. The water chestnuts, mango, and ginger are not cooked either. These are all added at the very end and stirred just enough to warm them and coat them with the sauce.
After the mixture is created, it is spooned back into the pineapple shells for serving.
Of course, serve with rice. Although the photos shown of the rice are a mixture of rice varieties, I think a perfect accompaniment might be a jasmine rice that has been steamed with some lemongrass!