Since our three week trip to Thailand last year, we’ve been more interested in Thai cuisine than ever before, so the publication of Baan: Recipes and Stories from my Thai Home by Kay Plunkett-Hogge, is really exciting. Read my review of the book here.
With permission from publisher Pavilion Books, we are so excited to share three recipes extracted from the book, the first of which is this delicious party snack, Ma Hor (Galloping Horses).
Ma Hor (Galloping Horses)
This dish was a staple of many a Plunkett cocktail party when I was small – the most delicious morsels of sweet, salty, almost candied pork on sharp wedges of pineapple and orange.
The name translates literally as ‘galloping horses’. Our cook Prayoon used to say that it was because of the recipe’s Chinese influence, and that the Chinese traders who brought their horse caravans down through northern Thailand were known as ‘Jeen Hor’, or ‘the Galloping Chinese’. Another friend said it was because the pork was riding the fruit and the dish was quick to make. I rather like both stories. You choose.
If they’re in season, try to use blood oranges for this. They taste delicious and look like jewels.
- 3 coriander (cilantro) roots, finely chopped (see Recipe Notes)
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tsp white peppercorns
- 3 Thai shallots, or 1 regular shallot, peeled and finely sliced (optional)
- 250 g / 9 oz minced (ground) pork, or mixture of minced (ground) pork and minced (ground) prawns
- 2 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
- 4 tbsp palm sugar
- 1 tbsp roasted peanuts, smashed to serve
- 1 pineapple, trimmed, cored, sliced and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2-4 oranges, peeled and sliced fairly thickly
- 1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
- a handful of fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
Coriander (Cilantro) Root, Leaves, Seeds and Stems: Thais use all parts of the coriander plant. Keep the seeds in the spice rack, the roots in the freezer (you’ll generally find them in the freezer section of your Asian supermarket), and buy the leaves as you need them. They perish fast. Try to keep a fair bit of stem on the roots. If you cannot find coriander root – and there will be weeks on end when there doesn’t seem to be any about – use the stems instead. It’s not quite the same, but it’ll do. If you become a super-keen Thai cook, buy it in bulk when you see it, and freeze it.
Using a pestle and mortar, pound the coriander root, garlic and peppercorns together to form a paste.
In a wok or a frying pan (skillet), heat the oil and cook the paste for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add the shallots, if using, and stir them into the paste for 30 seconds or so to combine. Add the pork, or pork and prawns, and stir it into the paste until well incorporated. Add the nam pla and palm sugar, stirring and frying until the meat is cooked. You’re looking to achieve a texture akin to a pork jam. If you think it needs more palm sugar, add it; more nam pla, the same. You want a salty, sweet, sticky mass.
Add the peanuts, and continue to cook until it becomes quite thick, like fudge. Remove from the heat, and let the mixture cool completely. You can do all this well ahead of time, even the day before you want to serve it, just keep it refrigerated once cooled. You can also keep the fruit slices refrigerated for ease.
Just before serving, complete the dish. Roll the pork mixture into balls of appropriate size to fit on the pineapple and orange pieces. Then garnish with a sliver of chilli and a coriander leaf. Serve at once.
Kavey Eats received a review copy of Baan: Recipes and Stories from my Thai Home. Published by Pavilion Books, RRP £20. Image credit: Louise Haggar.