Spiced pineapple

Serves 6-8 Sauces and accompaniments

Pineapple 220321 156899



  • 1 small just-ripe pineapple (approximately 750g)
  • 45g coconut oil
  • 15g mustard seeds
  • 10g fennel seeds
  • 5g curry leaves
  • 160g shallots, finely sliced
  • 15g jaggery, chopped
  • 4g chilli powder
  • 2g ground star anise
  • 70g Sri Lankan mustard (or 1:1 mix wholegrain and hot English mustard)


Remove the pineapple skin carefully, maintaining its natural curves so it doesn’t start to look like a square. Either use a paring knife on an angle to cut out the eyes or remove them by simply cutting off the skin in a thicker layer. Slice the pineapple into 1.5 cm thick rounds, then halve each round and cut each half into 6 even triangles (no need to cut out the core). Set aside.

Melt the coconut oil in a wide- based saucepan over a medium heat, add the mustard seeds and fennel seeds and cook, stirring, for 1–2 minutes until they begin to colour and pop. Add the curry leaves and cook briefly, then add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6–7 minutes until softened.

Add the jaggery and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes until it melts and starts to caramelise. Stir in the chilli powder and star anise, then add the pineapple pieces and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10–15 minutes until the pineapple is tender but still holding its shape.

Stir in the mustard and warm through for a few moments. Depending how juicy your pineapple is you may need to add a little splash of water to make sure everything is nicely coated. Serve just warm or at room temperature.

Cook’s note Avoid using an overly ripe pineapple as the flavour will be too sweet and fermenty, and will also alter the texture of the dish.

This recipe is from the April 2022 issue of Food and Travel. To subscribe today, click here.

Recipes and photographs taken from Lanka Food by O Tama Carey, photography by Anson Smart (Hardie Grant, £26).
Pineapple 220321 156899
Recipes and photographs taken from Lanka Food by O Tama Carey, photography by Anson Smart (Hardie Grant, £26).


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