from one generation to the next
In last week’s post I mentioned the Fermented Pineapple and Chilli Sambal I had made from a recipe published in the book from the Sydney cafe “Cornersmith.” I’ve always been a keen pickle and jam maker so my pantry cupboards are generally well stocked with delicious preserves. Our tastes are changing though, we want to eat less sugar and we prefer the flavour of the fruit or vegetable component to shine through, not be masked by vinegar and spice. I was keen to experiment. Other than making sourdough and yoghurt my experience with fermentation was limited.
Australia as a whole has embraced the flavours of Asian and other warm climates and so it’s only natural that preserves our evolve as well.
This recipe for Sri Lankan style Fermented Pineapple and Chilli Sambal jumped off the page at me the first time I flicked through the “Cornersmith” cookbook. Organised by seasons there’s a long list of interesting flavour combinations and ideas for jams and pickles waiting for me to experiment with.
Pineapples are local, plentiful and cheap right now. Just one pineapple made a 1 litre jar of sambal. I followed the instructions accurately although reading about fermentation led me to assume that given the temperature in Brisbane the jar would be bubbling away after a couple of days. At the end of Day 2 there was next to no action, day 3 was a similar story then when I got up on the morning of Day 4 the lid had blown slightly, and the juices were spilling out. Fermentation was in full swing.
After another week in the fridge I had a seriously delicious hot, sweet, salty, aromatic acidic pickle, totally different to the condiments I’m accustomed to. The flavour is fresh and addictive and leaves a wonderful zing on the palate.
I tried using the sambal with a few different dishes, but by far the best so far has been to use it as a dressing for my Asian Style coleslaw. I added 1 full cup of drained fermented chilli and pineapple sambal to the vegetables and simply dressed it with the juice of 1 large lime and a grating of palm sugar. I think I have created a new and indispensible ingredient.
Fermented Pineapple and Chilli Sambal
1 large pineapple about 900g
large handful of fresh coriander, washed and chopped
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons of chilli flakes or sliced fresh chilli
2 tablespoons salt
Wash and sterilise a 1 litre jar with a screw top lid.
Cut the skin from the pineapple then use a parring knife to cut out the eyes.
Cut the pineapple into 2cm thick slices then into 2cm chunks.
Discard the tough centre.
In a non reactive bowl combine all the ingredients.
Massage the pineapple chunks until they collapse and release their juice.
Spoon the pineapple into the jar pushing down the fruit so it is submerged under the brined juice.
Screw the lid in place.
Put the jar on a saucer to catch any spillage then leave the jar on the bench until it begins to ferment. The lid will pop up and the juices percolate out. This will take 2-4 days depending on the temperature in your kitchen.
Transfer the jar to the fridge and leave for 1 week before opening.
Serve as an accompaniment to spicy food.