Food

Nham

Nham by Don Vienne Senathit and the Laocook Team

(Serves 5-6)
350ml coconut milk*
60g red curry paste
1 kg cooked white rice
80g grated coconut
15g sugar
Pinch of salt
Corn starch for dusting
3 eggs, beaten
Oil for deep frying
400g chopped Som Moo (Fermented Pork)
100g sliced shallots
Approx 45ml freshly squeezed lime juice
Approx 45ml fish sauce
Chopped coriander (cilantro)
Chopped mint leaves
Dried chillies
Crushed peanuts

  • *Coconut milk is normally available in 400ml tin cans, do not shake the can before opening, what you want is the thick creamy part.

Nham is a wonderful dish and brings back memories of snacking next to the Mekong River with a cold beer in hand.

In our version, we have fried the rice twice, which makes the finished dish extra crunchy.

The amount of seasoning used really depends on your personal taste, so use our measurements as a guideline.
Mix the coconut milk in a large bowl with the red curry paste, sugar, salt, and grated coconut.

Add the rice, continuing to mix well, making sure that all the liquid is absorbed into the rice. Form the rice into the size of tennis balls, make sure that you pack them tightly as this will stop them from breaking apart whilst frying.

Dip the rice balls into the beaten eggs then dredge in the corn starch. Deep fry until golden brown.
Carefully crack open the balls and scoop out the rice into a clean bowl. Reserve the crust for frying later.

Add the chopped Som Moo and shallots, season with fish sauce and lime juice to taste (some people add a little sugar.)
Add the coriander (cilantro) and mint leaves then lightly mix.

Return the crusts to the deep fryer and refry until crispy and brown, drain on paper towels.
Deep fry the dried chillies a few seconds, this greatly improves their flavour.

Once cool enough to handle crumble the crust on to the rice mixture (we save a little to serve on the side, which everyone loves), add the peanuts then lightly toss, garnish with the dried chillies and enjoy immediately with some crispy lettuce or betel leaves, and of course, a cold beer.

Laotian born Chef Don Vienne Senathit and the Laocook Team are based at the award winning 5 Star Luxury resort “Fairplay Golf Hotel & SPA” in Southern Spain.

Originally published in Lao Roots Magazine, Spring 2008 issue.