Nhem (Laotian Crispy Rice Salad)

READY IN: 35mins
Recipe by threeovens

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.

Top Review by beffymaroo

This recipe is amazing overall. The crunchy rice crusts are one of the most transcendent things I have ever eaten. I subbed a few slices of crumbled bacon for spam (I made a half-recipe) and briefly roasted the shallots- it seems like the recipe implies they are supposed to be raw, but raw shallots are a little intense for me. I sprinkled in a little rice vinegar and sambal oelek before serving as well, and I think that added a nice tang in addition to the lime juice.<br/><br/>Overall, I highly recommend this recipe!

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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