Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Nam Khao (Laotian Fried Rice Ball Salad)
I've been meaning to post this a while back because I wanted to show step-by-step photos, but just haven't made this dish in a while. I first discovered this dish from a member of a forum and tried the recipe he/she had given. I wasn't that pleased with it, so I never bothered looking up other recipes. One day at the local Asian store, it sold a to-go package of this dish and I grabbed it. It was love-at-first-bite. Nam Khao is one of my favorite dishes now and the best new dish I have discovered in 2010. To me, it is that good, but it does require some acquired tasting. For example, if you don't like nam sausauge, then you might not like this dish, but you can certainly make it without it. The reason why the store-bought version was so much better than the original recipe I had tried earlier was because the original recipe was baked and not fried. It also did not include coconut flakes in the recipe. Those two things made a huge difference. This dish has to be deep fried or it won't taste the same.
This is a great dish to make when you have a lot of leftover rice and want to try something new besides regular fried rice. If you like the exotic tastes of Thai and Laotian, you will love this dish. I did anyway.
Here is a good tutorial online. I adapted my recipe from hers. For example, I used freshly fried shallots and garlic and threw it in the dish. I also added sugar since the one at the store tasted a little sweeter. I did not add any ground meat to the dish. I thought the nam sausage provided enough meat already. And I never use MSG in any of my foods. Some recipes call for curry, but I did not like that in mine. I also made my rice balls larger, so the rice wouldn't be as crispy (hard) all over. Some people like more of the hard rice, but I didn't want too much of that. One of these days, I'll post my exact recipe, but give this recipe a try first.
I made these the other day on a whim, and didn't turn out exactly like how I made them when I took the time, but here are photos to give you some ideas: