Prep 8 mins
Cook 8 mins
Savory Minced Pork on Pineapple from Real Thai:The Best of Thailand's Regional Cooking by Nancie McDermott copyright 1992. Mah Haw translates from Vietnamese as "Horses of the Haw People", although it doesn't contain horse meat (although, I suppose, if you can't get good pork for whatever reason - or you don't eat pork for whatever reason - it probably could be made with any other type of ground meat, including horse). Can be used as an appetizer for 8 to 10 people or as a main course for 3 to 4 people.
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1⁄2 lb coarsely ground pork (I find Spicy Italian Sausage works well)
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons palm sugar or 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 medium pineapple (or 1 14 ounce can of pineapple chuncks)
- 6 slices long thin sweet red peppers
- 1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns or 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorn
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh coriander, roots and stems or 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, and stems
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
- First, make the pesto by: Using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, crush or grind the peppercorns into a fine powder.
- Combine the pepper, cilantro and garlic and work into a fairly smooth paste in the mortar or in a small blender or food processor.
- If you opt to use a blender or food processor, you may need to add a little vegetable oil or water to ease the grinding.
- To keep the pesto for later use, put it in a glass jar, pour a little oil on top to cover it and seal tightly.
- Heat a wok or medium skillet over medium heat.
- Add the oil, and swirl to coat the surface of the pan.
- When oil is hot, add the Cilantro Pesto.
- Stir-fry the pesto until quite fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Increase heat to medium high and crumble in the ground pork.
- Stir-fry the pork until it breaks up into small lumps, renders some of its fat, and is no longer pink, approzimately 2 minutes.
- Add the fish sauce and sugar and continue cooking, stirring and scraping often to brown and coat the meat evenly.
- After approximately 4 minutes, when the meat is nicely browned, remove the pan from the heat and taste the sauce for a pleasantly salty-sweet balance.
- If needed add more fish sauce and/or sugar and return pan to heat in order to reduce the additions.
- Remove from the heat, transfer to a medium bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Peel the pineapple and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch-thick slices.
- Remove the hard core from the center of each slice and cut into 1-inch squares.
- You should have about 2 cups of squares.
- To serve, mound a spoonful of savory pork onto pineapple square.
- Garnish each mound with pepper strips and cilantro leaves.
- Transfer to a platter and serve at room temperature as a finger food.
Cilantro leaves are not a good substitute for cilantro root, because they don't have the same flavor. You can use the very bottom of the stems along with the cilantro root, but not all of the stems. The bottommost stems will keep some of the root flavor. Hope this helps!