Lao Crispy Rice Salad – Nam Khao

Photo by Dax Phillips
  • Serves
Author Notes

I was first introduced to nam khao while living in Dallas, Texas many years ago. It was served at a Thai/Lao restaurant, and when I read the ingredients, I could not resist. I was being adventurous in dining when living in Texas. The city was loaded with authentic Mexican food, Vietnamese, Thai, and middle eastern cuisine, and I was all in when it came to eating. It was this dish that blew my mind though. After eating nam khao, I researched what it was all about, and realized that the funky and delicious nam was actually a fermented pork sausage, along with the khao, or rice for that matter, that was crispy rice. Basically a crispy rice salad with tons of herbs, chilies, and loaded with awesome flavor. You are going to love this recipe, I guarantee it. —Dax Phillips


  • 3 cups

    Jasmine rice, cooked, and cooled

  • 2

    whole eggs, beaten with 1 tbsp soy sauce

  • 2 cups

    ground pork, cooked and cooled

  • 3 tablespoons

    Thai red curry paste

  • 1 cup

    unsweetened coconut flakes

  • 1 tablespoon

    palm sugar

  • 1 teaspoon


  • 1/2 cup

    shallots, thinly sliced

  • 1

    whole lime

  • 1/2 cup

    roasted peanuts

  • 1

    head of green cabbage, leaves removed

  • 1/2 cup

    fresh mint leaves

  • 1/2 cup

    fresh cilantro leaves

  • 1 tablespoon

    red chili flakes

  • 1/2 cup

    Nam, fermented pork, chopped

  • 2

    Thai bird chilies, optional

  • 2 cups

    canola oil

  1. Start by combining your cooled rice, the eggs with soy sauce, curry paste, salt, sugar, cooked ground pork, and coconut into a mixing bowl. Making sure everything is combined, form into baseball sized balls.
  2. Next, heat the oil and let it come up to about 350 degrees. Add one ball at a time, and cook until completely golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, and let it rest on a paper lined plate to drain any excess oil.
  3. Repeat with the remaining balls.

    During this time, prepare the remaining ingredients into a serving bowl.

    Take the crispy rice balls, and break apart into bite-sized pieces, adding them into the mixing bowl. Once all of the balls have been taken apart, mix everything together.

  4. To plate, add a mound of the nam khao to a serving plate, and serve alongside cabbage or lettuce leaves, fresh lime, and whole Thai bird chili peppers.

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