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Nhem (Laotian Crispy Rice Salad)

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“Sometimes referred to as Laotian Fried Rice, it is actually a crispy rice salad. The rice is seasoned and formed into balls which are deep fried. Then the rice is broken up for serving. This recipe also calls for soured pork, or som moo. This can be found in Asian markets in the form of a sausage. If you can't find it, substitute spam (no, I am not kidding) that you have sprinkled with a little fresh lime juice to give it that "sour" flavor.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a large bowl, combine coconut milk (just the thick, creamy part of the can), red curry paste, sugar, salt and grated coconut; add the rice and mix well so that the rice absorbs all the liquid.
  2. Form the rice mixture into tennis-sized balls and pack tightly so they do not fall apart while frying.
  3. Dip the balls into the egg, then dredge with cornstarch.
  4. Deep fry (medium high) until golden brown; let cool slightly.
  5. Break the balls apart into a clean bowl, gently stir, and bring to room temperature; if desired, reserve some of the crust to deep fry until crispy.
  6. Add the chopped Som Moo (or Spam), shallots, season with fish sauce and a little lime (some people add a little sugar too), chopped cilantro, mint, then lightly toss to combine.
  7. If desired, return the reserved crusts to the deep fryer until crispy, then drain on paper towels; once cooled enough to handle, crumble them onto the rice mixture or serve on the side.
  8. Add peanuts and toss; garnish with dried chilies.

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