Pineapple Murabba

I buy a fresh pineapple almost every week except when it is literally being given away. In that case, I get two! Love the fruit as madly as I do, I am horribly lazy about cleaning and prepping them. Don't know very many people who get their jollies from the job either. You can get these special tools to peel and core them but anything that can't be multi purposed doesn't have a place in my small kitchen. Since canned or frozen pineapple is not exactly enjoyable by any stretch, I just deal with the hassle. 

The key to committing, I find, is to bring the fruit back home, wash and slice the ends off straight away. In this Texas heat, it takes mere minutes for gnats to get news of these tasty landing spots. Just the stimulus or kick in the you-know-what to make haste. 

So this past week, pineapples were on sale - two for $2.50. I caved but predictably, ignored my own advice and left the fruit sitting on the counter. By day five, you could smell them all the way in my room upstairs like an admonishment. Half an hour later, I had neatly portioned freezer containers of sweet pineapple for smoothies, chunks reserved in the fridge to snack on and some extra to put in my delicious Sweet and Sour Tofu with Vegetables. One whole fruit and a quarter of the second down.

Okay... Maybe a little less pineapple the next time..

 Tofu squares with murabba are easily thrown together for an appetizer party.

Tofu squares with murabba are easily thrown together for an appetizer party.

..or maybe, I could just make murabba

The very mention of it takes me back to every relished bite from my school friend Yamini's lunchbox. Good thing she felt the same passion for my mother's packed dosas.  It wouldn't have been much of a lunchtime for her, otherwise! 

Yamini's mum made killer mango murabba - a spiced, sweet and sour jam - just brilliant with soft Indian breads. Funny that I never ever learned to make the condiment from her given the alarming quantities of this stuff I could put away in one sitting. I knew it called for green mangoes, a few spices and sugar but no blazing idea how much of anything or what spices exactly. 

What is good for the mango is good enough for the pineapple, it turned out. Created on-the-fly, purely from my taste memories, this recipe was the perfect use for the remaining three quarters. Spicier than I remember, with the bonus of no added-sugars, this jam, murabba or chutney, call it what you will, is definitely worth going pineapples over. 

Pineapple Murabba
Yields approximately 12oz. 

Fruit from 3/4 sweet pineapple, chunked
A big pinch ground cayenne
1" stick, cinnamon
A few grinds, black pepper
Sea salt to taste
1/2 tsp. each nigella, fennel and cumin seeds
Seeds from one green cardamom
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive or coconut oil (optional)

Place the pineapple chunks in a pan. Add the cinnamon stick, cayenne, ground pepper and salt. Cook covered on medium heat until soft. You won't need to add any water. There is plenty in the pineapple but do adjust the heat down if necessary to avoid burning. Remove the cinnamon stick and break down the fruit either with a potato masher or immersion blender. Alternatively, throw it into a food processor if you don't mind the extra washing. 

Powder the nigella, fennel, cumin and cardamom seeds until slightly coarse, using a spice grinder. 

Tip the ground spices into the pineapple mixture. Add the oil, if using and mix well. 

Transfer into a glass jar and cool uncovered in the fridge. Screw the cap on once the murabba has cooled completely.