Pineapple, Multitasking

Not only does it look good, adding bright flashes of color to the dish, but pineapple also completes the taste profile, simultaneously balancing the other flavors and enhancing them.   The fruit even works on a chemical level, its enzymes tenderizing the meat, which is one of the reasons it’s included in so many Asian and Pacific cuisines.

In this case, the cuisine is Cambodian and the dish is Sach Ko Char Manor, Beef with Pineapple Stir-Fry.  It’s among the dozens of mouthwatering recipes found on MyLinh’s Recipe, one of the most rewarding discoveries in searching for dishes to prepare for this page.  This isn’t the first time one of MyLinh’s recipes have made the cut – the Ginger Chicken dish and the Coconut Cupcakes are two recent examples – and it won’t be the last, either.

This entry calls up big, wide-ranging flavors to create something which sparkles on the palate.  Peppers, tomato and pineapple give the dish a sweet touch, with the latter two also contributing a tangy contrast.  The beef is savory, of course,  and the oyster sauce that coats it punches up the umami a level or two.   A few splashes of soy sauce brings enough saltiness to make the other flavors dance.  Finally, cilantro and cabbage introduce fresh, vegetal notes, allowing the dish to be substantive yet light.

When served with rice, as it is above, Beef with Pineapple Stir-Fry makes for a complete, satisfying meal.  Of course, the colors are gorgeous too, and just looking at them entices the appetite.  Imagine how difficult it was to dream about these flavors for months before making them real.

The sacrifices made for you, the readers…  Fortunately, you don’t need to wait so long.  Make this dish this week.  Tonight, even.  You’ll be so glad you did.


Sach Ko Char Manor

(Beef with Pineapple Stir-Fry)

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar (*1)
  • 1/2 pound sirloin, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (*2)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (*3)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced (*4)
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage (*5)
  • 1/2 fresh pineapple, cubed; or 1 small can of the same
  • bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced (*6)
  • handful of cilantro, chopped

In a small bowl, mix the water, cornstarch, soy sauce and sugar thoroughly.  Set aside

In a large bowl, combine the beef, oyster sauce and pepper and set aside.

Heat a wok (or skillet) to a high temperature and add the oil.  Add the garlic, onion and beef and stir well.

Throw in the pineapple and the cabbage and stir for a couple minutes.

Add the pepper and the tomato and stir for a minute more.

Stir in the cornstarch mixture until the sauce thickens, 2 or 3 minutes.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.


1 – I used light brown sugar, as this is closest to the palm sugar Cambodians would use.

2 – If you don’t have oyster sauce in your fridge, it’s available in most grocers’ “International” aisles.

3 – Naturally, I used peanut oil instead; it seems to compliment Asian cuisine.

4 – Do I even need to tell you what I substituted?  (Hint: shallots)

5 – Napa cabbage works well for this, as its interesting texture and mild flavor make superior contributions.

6 – Or, you might want to try grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise, as I did.  Not only are they more flavorful, but they add a more striking color.


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