One of the things you’d look forward to as a child on the islands is mango season. This is the time of the year when mangoes are mature and starts to ripe on the trees. If you had patience you’d wait for a strong gust of wind to blow the ripe mangoes to the ground or if patience was not your strong suit you’d get a long stick or bamboo rod and gently tap on them so they’d fall. If all failed, you could always get a small rock or stick and toss it at the mangoes. One way or the other you were going to enjoy some of those juicy ripe mangoes.
This was also the season for making mango chow. Slices of green (but half-ripe) mangoes with crushed (or sliced) hot peppers, garlic, shado beni, salt and fresh lime juice. When we moved to Canada sourcing mangoes was not an easy chore, so we had to find another fruit to make this fiery treat (green apples also works great). Not only could we not get mangoes, the other key ingredient which is shado beni was not easy to find either.
So my aunt who I lived with at the time suggested we use pineapple (something she had enjoyed on the islands on one of her trips back), thus started this pineapple salad or chow. And since we couldn’t get fresh shado beni, we started using cilantro. To Trinbagonians this will be considered a form of “chow”, but to others it’ll be a spicy pineapple salad.
This is so easy and full of wonderful flavour, you’ll wonder why you haven’t had it yet.
1 ripe pineapple (cubed)
1/4 teaspoon salt
fresh cracked black pepper
1 clove garlic sliced thin
juice of 1 lime or lemon
3 tablespoon cilantro
1 small red onion sliced (optional)
1/2 habanero pepper sliced thin (scotch bonnet or any pepper with some heat)
* if you can get shado beni, be sure to use that instead of the cilantro for a true “chow” taste. However if you want to enjoy it as a mild salad, use the cilantro.
* In most grocery stores you can get the fresh pineapple already peeled and cored (usually packed in a plastic container). If you can’t, I’ve created a short video below showing how it’s done. If all fails I guess you can use a can of pineapple chunks. However I can’t promise that the results would be the same as using fresh pineapple.
Basically all you’re doing in combining all the ingredients is a large bowl, mix thoroughly and allow to marinate in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
I told you it was simple! Give it a try, it’s a great way to spice things up a bit with some pineapple. Here’s the short video showing how to peel and remove the core from a ripe pineapple.