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Pineapple with Mixed Vegetables (Bor Law Chau Jop Choi)

Posted Oct 27 2008 12:00am

One of my favorite dishes to get when out at a Thai restaurant is the Cashew Nut rice plate which usually includes tofu, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, carrots, pineapples, and scallions in a special sauce topped with cashew nuts. I always enjoy the beautiful assortment of vegetables it includes and the sweet and savory combination of the pineapple, tofu and nuts. It was also one of the dishes that started my love affair with tofu. In college I had a bad habit of forgoing the dining hall for this tasty dish at the Thai restaurant next to my dorm.
Now that I live on my own, however, takeout is largely a thing of the past so when I have a craving I try to recreate the dish in my own kitchen. One of the few recipes I’ve found I love as much as my restaurant favorite is Veganomicon’s Pineapple Cashew Quinoa. I could gladly make that recipe over and over again and be perfectly content. However, given my challenge to reach 200 recipes by year end I decided to opt for a recipe I had never tried: Pineapple with Mixed Vegetables from From the Earth: Chinese Vegetarian Cooking. The recipe was intriguing to me because it called for sherry, which I had never used in Chinese cooking.
The recipe was relatively simple and involved cooking a slice of ginger in peanut oil until golden and then adding your vegetables and pineapple before adding in sherry, water, cornstarch, and sesame oil to make a sauce. (The cashews were my addition which I threw into the mix with the pineapple.) I served it over brown rice for a filling meal. My portion was eaten out of a ceramic Take-Out dish by Lorena Barrezueta for the true take out experience. (As an aside, I am addicted to her whimsical, albeit pricey, dishes.)
While this dish was a fun opportunity to try something new it did not live up to the greatness of Veganomicon’s Pineapple Cashew Quinoa. The ginger, sherry, and sesame oil did not provide the same depth of flavor that you get with the Veganomicon recipe. It’s hard to be disappointed though because I like to think it takes both failures and successes to develop one’s cooking skills and palate. Sometimes understanding what disapoints is just as important as discovering what wows. Here’s to hoping my next recipe is in the wow category. Have a good night everyone.

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