Make This At Home: A Senior Eats® Recipe for Thai Curry Pineapple Chicken

Sunrise Senior Living  |  September 23, 2014

Last Tuesday, September 16th, dining services coordinator Brent Hagel of Sunrise of West Hills, CA, competed against 4 other finalists in the 2014 Senior Eats ® Nutritional Challenge. The dish that had him stand out amongst 60 recipes submitted across the U.S. and Canada? Thai Curry Pineapple Chicken!

His sweet and savory creation was handpicked by the corporate Dining team, and once at The Challenge at The Fairfax in Fort Belvoir, VA, Hagel was able to recreate this specialty for resident judges. It is hailed for not only being uniquely delicious, but also full of nutritional goodness that’s fit for every palate.

Chicken is an excellent source of protein with a 4-ounce serving of chicken breast providing 35 grams of protein, and also contains all B vitamins, most notably vitamin B3. Unlike beef, regular consumption of chicken has not been associated with any increased risk of colorectal or other cancers. In fact, consuming chicken regularly as part of an otherwise balanced diet has been shown to decrease total blood cholesterol levels and improve the quality of triglycerides in the blood by increasing the ratio of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids compared with other inflammatory fatty acids.

Coconut has often been represented as an unhealthy choice, high in saturated fat. Recent research has turned that notion on its head. Coconut milk has been proven to have many potent health benefits. Most importantly, coconut milk is rich in lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that is abundant naturally in a mother’s milk. Lauric acid is effective at fighting viruses, bacteria and illness in the body, and may also reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. There are only a few foods that are naturally rich in lauric acid, with coconut milk being one of them!

Try your hand at dining services coordinator Brent Hagel’s creation today!

Thai Curry Pineapple Chicken
Serves 6

2 cups jasmine or brown rice
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 each 4 oz can red curry paste
2 each 14 oz cans coconut milk
2 each boneless / skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 tbsp fish sauce
½ each red bell pepper, seeded / julienned
½ each green bell pepper, seeded / julienned
½ each yellow onion, peeled / diced
2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
Optional for garnish: bamboo shoots, sliced green onion, bean sprouts


Cook the rice according to package instructions. Whisk together the oil and curry paste in a sauté pan over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, until aromas are released. Whisk half of the coconut milk into the curry mixture. Bring to a simmer. Reduce to low and set aside. Combine the chicken, fish sauce and remaining coconut milk. Heat a wok or sauté pan over high heat. Add the chicken mixture. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the peppers and onions to the chicken mixture. Cook for 5 minutes more, until internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165˚F for 15 seconds. Add the pineapple and heat through. Divide the rice evenly between serving plates. Spoon chicken and vegetables over rice. Spoon sauce over top.  Garnish as desired. Serve immediately.