Usually, we have a lot of folks over during Diwali for a big feed. This year, however, plans are changed due to Covid. This isn’t the first time a planned Diwali feast has been scuttled. Once there were heavy rains and a power outage, twice there were wildfire evacuations, and once my stove died. This year, of course, we’re all staying close to home because of Covid so my big dinner, which usually looks something like this….
…is now more like something in the Soup For One Lonely Guy universe. It’s just us chickens, or rather just us, and a Siberian Husky.
Luckily, I now have a Tandoor oven and that makes all the difference. So I whipped up a multi-course dinner, including tandoori chicken and tandoori eggplant, for just family in my backyard tandoor and it made a simple meal special. I was even able to cook my dessert in it. Dessert? In a tandoor? Yes indeedy. One can’t just plunge anything into hot coals and fire and expect it to come out dessert, but there are certain things that just work and one of them is pineapple.
As someone who grew up in an Italian household, my experience with pineapple was definitely NOT on pizzas. Pineapple, or rather badly burnt pineapple was what we usually lifted off my moms Easter ham with tongs. No one wanted to eat it. It resembled some sort of burnt rubber gasket, and sort of tasted like that too. It was enough to put me off pineapple for a good many years. Then I discovered it didn’t have to be like that. Pineapple could be delicious cold, in ice creams or sorbets, as cake fillings, or in a chutney. So, when I had the idea of putting pineapple near fire and coals again, that old childhood trauma came back. I wasn’t going to deliberately incinerate a delicious piece of fruit. I was NOT my mother.
That’s around the time I noticed an intriguing dish called Tandoori Ananas, or Pineapple, glazed and roasted in a tandoori oven. Nothing wrong with that! But I was still scared about cooking a dessert in a flaming hot pit. So of course I did what I always do when I’m scared of something, I try to do it. I’m glad I did. This can be made on a grill, or under a broiler, but dang, that tandoor oven really does the job. And it’s easy too. As easy as Pineapple.
First, cut open your pineapple and twist off the top.
Split it in half lengthwise. Trim the core off, and cut around the pineapple meat.
Then cut horizontally and make chunks.
Break out the star anise and break one into pieces and set it aside.
Poke a piece of star anise into each chunk of pineapple.
Toast the fennel seeds in a dry pan on the stove.
When they’re toasted, crush them in a mortar and pestle, and put them in a bowl together with the honey and the chili.
Thread the pieces of pineapple on a skewer and brush them with the spice honey mixture.
Next, start your engines…that is fire up your tandoor oven (or grill or broiler). Your tandoor should be at about 450 degrees.
Place the pineapple in the tandoor oven, slide the cover closed and cook.
Keep an eye on it and rotate your skewers, this cooks fast! Actually, everything in a tandoor cooks fast which is why it’s so much fun to use.
When it starts to char a bit, it’s done.
Take it out of the oven, brush it with the glaze once again and slide it off the skewers onto your plate. (Caution: the pineapple and skewers will be very hot.)
From Kathy: I served this with some homemade Rose Pistachio ice cream. I make this ice cream frequently but I’d never done this with it before. The pineapple and the rose and pistachio really worked well together. Totally festive even if it was just us!