I recently came across a new product in a grocery store: Filipino Pineapple Tamarind Chicken Sauce. Of course, it wasn't Paleo, but it sounded amazing. So I thought I'd try my hand at it. Guess what? It tasted fantastic.
But I ran into a problem…
I made a family-sized batch so that I could have leftovers for a few days. I figured that it would taste even better after having marinated in the sauce overnight. The problem was that I completely forgot about the pineapple enzyme, bromelain. This is used in most meat tenderizing products. The result was that outside of the chicken had a soft, mushy texture making it unappealing. I did some reading and found that the enzyme is denatured when heated to about 65 °C for a short time. Now I know.
Have you ever played the “What-If” game? What if I had moved to a different city years ago? What if I had been married when I was younger? What if I had taken my friend up on that job offer in Bali? I never think this way, and never with regret, but randomly today I was wondering about how different life would be today if I had moved to Bali to work with a friend a few years ago. I can barely imagine what life today would look like. Would I still be living there now, or would I have returned to Canada? Would I have realized how important food is to me and how passionate I am about it?
What are your big “what-if” moments in your life?
What if I had remembered about the pineapple enzyme effect before making such a large batch of chicken?? No regrets. Live and learn, and enjoy the lessons!
- 2.2 lbs (1kg) boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
- 2 Tbsp ghee
- 1–2 red chili peppers (I liked 2)(finely diced)
- 2–3 Tbsp tamarind paste***
- 1 cup crushed pineapple (see How to Choose, Cut, & Grow a Pineapple)
- 1 Tbsp coconut aminos
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Melt ghee in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Brown chicken (cook in batches if needed), cooking 3-4 minutes on either side.
- Combine all sauce ingredients together in a saucepan to at least 65 °C.
- Coat chicken in sauce in a baking dish and transfer to oven.
- Cook until meat juices run clear or use a meat thermometer (it took me about 13 minutes).
**This was delicious and fantastic when I made it, and I thought that it would be that much better the next day after all the flavors marinated a bit more, BUT I forgot about the enzymes in the pineapple: I found that after a few days, the leftover chicken’s outer texture was… “soft”. Whoops. Read above for an explanation and solution.
***You can buy jars of processed tamarind paste, but I used tamarind from a block which has some fibers and hard pieces of the seed. This can be soaked in equal parts water to soften, then squeezed to produce a smooth paste which will not break your teeth (discard the hard mass left in your hand after squeezing out the soft paste). Yay! Let’s not talk about what it looks like and just focus on the rich tamarind flavor!
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Filipino