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Ma hor (galloping horses)

This classic Thai appetiser pulls out all the stops.

By Alice Storey & Emma Knowles
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 20 mins cooking plus cooling
  • Serves 12
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Ma hor (Galloping horses)
Sweet, salty, sour and spicy – these appetisers capture the essential flavours of Thai cooking, one punchy mouthful at a time. We've adapted this ma hor recipe from David Thompson's authoritative book Thai Food.


  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 150 gm each coarsely minced pork and minced quail (see note)
  • 150 gm peeled medium uncooked prawns, coarsely chopped
  • 165 gm crushed light palm sugar
  • 125 ml fish sauce (½ cup)
  • 80 gm each fried shallots and fried garlic (see note)
  • 50 gm roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely crushed
  • 1 pineapple, quartered, core removed, thinly sliced
  • To serve: julienned long red chilli, kaffir lime leaf and coriander leaves
Coriander and garlic paste
  • 8 coriander roots, scrubbed
  • 8 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • ½ tsp white peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil


  • 1
    Heat one-third of oil on the flat plate of a barbecue, cook pork until cooked through (2-3 minutes), season to taste, remove, drain on absorbent paper, set aside to cool. Repeat with quail and prawns, cooking separately.
  • 2
    For coriander and garlic paste, pound coriander, garlic and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle to a fine paste. Heat oil in a frying pan over high heat, add paste and fry until fragrant (1-2 minutes).
  • 3
    Add palm sugar and fish sauce to coriander and garlic paste, simmer until slightly thickened (4-5 minutes). Add pork, quail and prawns and stir until reduced (3-4 minutes). Stir through half of each of the fried shallots, fried garlic and peanuts and set aside to cool slightly.
  • 4
    Top pineapple slices with pork mixture, scatter with julienned chilli, lime leaf and coriander and serve with remaining fried shallots, fried garlic and peanuts.


Note You will need to order minced quail from your butcher. If it's unavailable, you can mince it yourself, or substitute coarsely minced chicken thigh. Fried shallots and fried garlic are available from Asian grocers.