Keang gai faa and galloping horse

Another day, another attempt at making Thai food. Su-mei Yu is a serious taskmistress. I’ve now got the approved stone mortar and pestle (9 inches in diameter) and am pounding my pastes and chilis. Note: pounding, not grinding. You must do a simple up-and-down motion, constantly scraping the sides of the mortar, for 30 minutes, in order to achieve a smooth Big Four Paste. I have to say it is much smoother than I can achieve in my food processor. I can’t imagine what my downstairs neighbors make of the rhythmic beat, however.

Keang gai faa is an older Thai dish. Similar to howling tiger – the emphasisis is on ground white peppercorn and cilantro rather than fiery green chilis or curry. Su-mei Yu translates it as “heavenly chicken stew” and this is more or less accurate.

Galloping horse, however, was the highlight of the meal (pictured above). It consists of ground pork fried with garlic, fish sauce, brown sugar and ground peanuts (I substituted ground cashews), which is then stuffed inside of fruit. Su-mei Yu recommend tangelos which, astonishingly, I was able to locate at the supermarket, but you can use figs, pineapple or persimmons. Tangelo segments are actually not easy to stuff with ground pork – Nils helped me – but getting the sweet-salty meat in the same bite as the citrusy fruit is all that matters. Each combination is topped with a cilantro leaf and a sliver of serrano chile. Unbelievable, and incredibly simple to make.