Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ma Hor

Sunday is market day. Each and every Sunday, my beautiful assistant and I schlep down to the Civic Center Farmers Market to procure a week's worth of produce for our rather large household. It has become a bit of a scavenger hunt of sorts to acquire the necessary herbs and spices for my cooking. Sometimes I strike out but today I got lucky.
I found some very nice cilantro, with the very important root still attached.
I should have bought a lot more, I am a fool. Coriander root is used in many curries and countless other dishes. Think you can leave this one out and get the proper result? Put another way, do you think you would get far without your thumbs?

I also found some nice chilies. I imagine you are unimpressed. But seriously, this is the first time I've found these type of chilies in weeks. Damn you seasons!
Once again I remind you: Imagine trying to walk without your large toes. That's how important it is for me to have found some of this stuff today, Without them, it totally hobbles my ability to make these dishes.

Today I had an extra set of hands in the kitchen and together we made a ridiculous and beautiful hors d'oeuvre Ma Hor.
That's the unholy trifecta of shrimp, chicken, and pork.  A paste of coriander root, garlic and white pepper is pounded. Shallots and garlic are fried. Peanuts are roasted. The paste is fried and fish sauce and palm sugar are mixed in. Everything is cooked into a sticky paste which is placed on top of pieces of mandarin topped with cilantro and slivers of red chilies. Not too shabby.

Hours later, my hands are still on fire.


Hanie said...

coriander roots! how interesting :D I've never found a use for them yet in our Malay cuisine - it's either the leaves or the seeds (ketumbar), the latter pounded into powder to marinate meats etc.

a said...

Interesting. I just kind of assumed that the root was used all over SE Asia.

Hanie said...

This is interesting to me too :) I asked my mom and she didn't have any use for Coriander root either, though pennywort root and cilantro roots are a different story :)