Pineapple chow is an incredibly easy Trinidadian snack/side with garlic, cilantro and chili. Sweet, salty and spicy it’s refreshing and delicious.
I came across pineapple chow a bit by accident, but as soon as I read about it, I knew I had to make it. Chow seems to be most commonly made with green/slightly underripe mango, but pineapple is probably a close second. You can also make it with other firm slightly tart fruits such as green apples.
Given I’ve had Angie’s Fiesta Friday challenge on my mind, it had to be pineapple. I’m not quite sure if there’s enough green in here for it to fully count for the challenge, but even if not, it’s a great dish anyway. Easy, refreshing and so much flavor. You really should give it a try.
What is chow?
Chow is a traditional dish from Trinidad made with fruit, garlic and culantro/chadon beni. Since culantro/chadon beni isn’t exactly common here, cilantro is the next best thing being a close relative anyway. You then season it with hot sauce and/or chili, salt and pepper, all to taste and depending on the fruit.
It’s the sort of thing you would find as a snack from a street vendor, at festivals or as a side. In some ways, it’s kind of their equivalent to what you might be more familiar with, Laos/Thai green papaya salad. Given that’s one of my favorites, that’s partly why I felt I had to make it and this doesn’t disappoint.
How it’s made
Pineapple chow is incredibly easy to make. You simply chop up the fruit, finely chop some garlic and cilantro and mix them together, along with some lime juice, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Spice it up or down to taste, but it’s definitely worth adding a bit of seasoning. You can serve it straight away but it can also be good to let it marinate for 30 minutes or so.
Pineapple chow is a wonderful mix of sweet, salty and spicy. It’s really quick and easy to make and is versatile too, making a great snack or side dish to many a meal. Given there are so few ingredients, it feels like it has a surprisingly complex flavor, but most importantly, it tastes great. Refreshing and flavorful, you can hardly ask for more.
Incredibly easy to make, fresh pineapple is transformed by a few simple additions.
- 1 cup chopped fresh pineapple 150g (vol/weight without skin/core)
- 1 clove garlic (small)
- 2 tbsp cilantro coriander, chopped (culantro/chadon beni if you can get it)
- 1 1/2 tbsp lime juice (approx 1/2 lime)
- 1/8 tsp hot sauce or more to taste, plus a little salt & pepper
Chop the pineapple into small-ish chunks. Finely chop the garlic and cilantro and add them, along with the lime juice, to the pineapple.
Add a little hot sauce, salt and pepper, mix, then adjust seasoning to taste.
Serve either straight away or chill in the refrigerator for 30min or so to allow flavors to marinate/mingle a bit more.
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