nhem/nam khao

rice balls before frying

nam khao is one of my favorite laotian dishes. it is basically almost like fried rice but made with deep fried rice balls broken up and then eaten with lettuce. i guess it is more like a crispy rice salad. while there are many different ways to make it, this recipe is how my mother taught me to make it.

what you need:

2 1/2 cups of rice
1 cup of ground pork
7 kaffir lime leaves minced
2 cloves of garlic minced
3 shallots minced
4 Tbsp parsley diced
4 Tbsp green onion diced
1 1/2 Tbsp red curry paste
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 egg
dried chili peppers
2 rolls of som moo (cured pork), if you can’t find this at your asian market you can add ham or spam and also add some lime to the dish to substitute for some sourness. if you don’t want to add meat, just don’t! add vegetables instead šŸ™‚
enough oil to fry rice balls (about 1 1/2 to 2 inches high in the pot) and chili peppers

what to do:

1. After your rice is finished cooking, let the rice cool down enough to handle with hands.

2. While you’re waiting for this you can also cook your pork in a pan and season it with salt, after cooking for about 2 minutes let it cool enough to handle. if the pork is a little pink still its ok, you’re going to fry it with the rice.

3. After both ingredients cool down throw them both in a bowl. Heat your oil up to medium high. Add the garlic, shallots, grated coconut, lime leaves, sugar, salt, and curry paste with rice and pork. Mix everything well so there are no chunks of rice. Crack the egg into this mixture and mix. Add half of both the green onion and parsley in last and form about two inch balls by packing the rice by cupping your hands. This makes about 9 rice balls. (have a bowl of water on the side to dip your hands in so that the rice does not get stuck on your hands)

4. Once the oil is hot enough, fry the rice balls till they turn golden brown (about 5-7 minutes).

5. While your rice balls fry you can clean your lettuce and break them into individual pieces and also clean your mint. You will use the lettuce to hold your rice mixture and also garnish it with mint.

6. After your rice balls finish cooking, throw your dried chilis in to fry for a bit. Just dont let them burn! Let your rice balls cool.

7. break apart your som moo. you can add it in as is or cook it for a bit. i like to cook it a bit so the meat isn’t so sour but it’s your choice. if you’re adding ham or spam just dice them up and cook these in a frying pan.

8. add the broken up som moo (ham or spam) into a bowl along with the fried rice balls that you have broken up so there are no large pieces of fried rice left. mix well. top with leftover parsley and green onion. you may also top with toasted crushed peanuts if you like. serve with your lettuce, mint and chilis on the side. if you used ham or spam, serve with a lime wedge.

(for the above picture i used fresh thai chilis to top it off with because i couldn’t find my dried ones. if you don’t have whole dried chilis just used fresh or crushed red chili peppers)

  1. i think this is totally genius! next time i make fried rice i'm making it this way!

  2. This is a special dish. I never fry rice balls before.

  3. This sounds very, very good! I will definitely try this the minute I get off my current diet *sigh*

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