Nam Khao Laotian Crispy Rice Salad

Click here to view this video on YouTube

My goal this year is to learn Lao cuisine, it is sad that I never had the interest when my mom was still alive and now the opportunity to learn from her is lost forever.  Bo’s mom, mae Kathy is a great cook and I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn from her. I bought some of the ingredients over to her house on Saturday to made Nam Khao or Laotian Crispy Rice Salad, something that I have been wanting to learn for a while now.  I made a video and decided to mute the sound since it was noisy and she had a full house on Saturday.

She had some young coconut that she bought from the flea market that morning, and Bo helped shredded the young coconut meat.

I knew I didn’t have to bring eggs, mae Kathy has plenty from her chicken coop.  The hens lay fewer eggs during the winter months due to shorter daylight and she collects about 20 eggs per day.  The quantity more than double in the summer months.

Ingredients to make the rice balls,
Steamed jasmine rice
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 cup grated coconut
2 cups ground pork
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 sliced shallots
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 stalks chopped leafy onion
Vegetable oil for deep fry

Ingredients added to cooked rice balls,
4 chopped som moo or pickled pork
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoons crush peanuts
dried chili peppers (optional)
chopped cilantro and leafy onion for garnish

Mae Kathy steamed the jasmine rice after I got there.  They normally eat sticky rice at home so steamed jasmine rice is not something that she would prepare all the time.  She then added the ingredients to make the rice balls.  In the below image she added 1 cup grated coconut, 2 cups ground pork, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 stalks chopped leafy onion.

Then add 2 tablespoons red curry paste.  It is not that spicy and it’s more for the coloring.

Then mixed well.

After everything is mixed, then add sliced shallots.

I rolled the jasmine rice into rice balls about the size of a tennis ball.  Mae Kathy told me to make sure it is tight and make it slightly flat so that we wouldn’t use as much oil when deep fry. As you can see I had 2 jobs, I was the camera person shooting images and video clips, and also a helper.

I deep fried the rice balls, and only could fit 5 rice balls in at a time.

The rice balls actually tasted good as is, and the kids seemed to love them.

Mae Kathy used 4 som moo or pickled pork that I purchased from the Asian Market.  She cooked it in the microwave for 1 minute since she doesn’t like it raw.

She mixed it with the cooked rice, then add 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice and 3 tablespoons crush peanuts.

She added chopped cilantro and leafy onion for garnish and it is ready to be served with vegetables.

We had a nice visit and I’m looking forward to learning the next Lao dish from her again.


  1. Your video came out really nice. It looks like such a complicated meal to make. But I’m sure the taste is well worth it. 🙂

    Lately I’ve feel dizzy if I eat fried food, possibly because I don’t eat fry food often. But I think all the fresh herbs & veggies in this dish will balance it out.

    • Hi Cambree, this time it is not as greasy and I think the young coconut helps tremendously, it will be hard for me to find one just like it. This will be great during the summer months when there are plenty of fresh herbs and vegetables. The prep time is not that bad especially if I make a small batch.

      I brought my tripod with me and it helped with the video.

  2. This looks really good. I’m going to have to try it. I also want to try to learn to cook Lao food. It’ll make my husband happy!

    • Sothea, it’s good to learn the authentic dish from the elders and everyone has his or her own secrete recipe. When I have enough dishes, I might make a cookbook for myself. 🙂

    • seeharhed, I often buy it at the temple during festivals, and now I can fix it for myself. I like som moo also, and I think it would taste better uncooked. Bo is not too crazy about som moo so I might have to add Vietnamese ham for him instead.

  3. Ohhhhhh . . . that looks good. Can there be anything better than cooking together, teacher and apprentice, and remembering family stories?

    • Gerry, it was a nice visit. Bo’s mom is so knowledgeable about the Lao cuisine and I’m looking forward to learn more Lao dishes from her. 🙂

  4. Thanks for the recipe. It’s one of my favorite foods. Can you show us how to make jeow bong? I

  5. Hi Nye,

    Your blog is Excellent! Thank you for sharing your stories. They’re very entertaining and I think your photos look awesome, especially the ones of Lao food. I also like your writing style and subtle humour. I am starting a blog on Lao food, and was wondering if I can add a link to your website? Best wishes from down under, Sydney. 🙂

    • Hi Ngeun, thanks for your visit and comment. I’m happy to be able to share photos from this part of the world and I’m happy for your to add my link to your Lao food blog. I’m looking forward to read and learn to cook Lao food from you. 🙂

  6. Hi Nye,

    Thank you! 🙂 My site is very new, so please be patient as I slowly add interesting articles and photos to it, with the odd Lao recipes here and there. Thank you for your encouragement! Nam Khao is one of my favourite dishes. I love how you can wrap it in lettuce leaves and eat it as a complete meal! Haha

    • Ngeun, really looking forward to reading your food blog and will link to you when you have a few posts. I was excited to learn how to make Nam Kao and I guess the lettuce makes it seems more healthy. 🙂

  7. […] Nam Khao: This crispy rice salad is a nice side dish for your typical Laotian meal. Curry paste, coconut, pork, shallots, fish sauce, soy sauce and onion are all stirred through a bowl of cooked rice. This mixture is then formed into balls which are deep fried. The balls are then broken up and mixed with pickled pork, lime juice and peanuts. Chili can be added for a spicier taste. […]

  8. I missed that food. I used to eat it while I was living in Bkk. Didn’t realized that it is a Loasian food. Thanks for the blog.

  9. Is the ground pork cooked before being added to the recipe?? Is it seasoned with anything??

    • Hi Tonya, the ground pork is raw when added and not seasoning at all. You add the seasoning after you mix the ground pork with other ingredients.

      • Nye~
        Thank you so much for the recipe… I made it yesterday and it turned out awesome!! I love this dish!! I did not add the ground pork or shallots… I replaced the shallots with green onions instead… it tasted just like my sister-in-laws!! Thanks again.. my family loved it too!!! My next dish to try to make is Papaya Salad… 🙂

        • You are welcome, and thanks for sharing the result. My sister makes good Papaya Salad, you might find this post helpful. The Papaya salad is at the bottom of the post.

    • Hi Tee, we used 4 3 cups of uncooked Jasmin rice to steam in a rice cooker, so after it’s cooked it’s about 3/4 of a rice cooker.

        • Hi Mia, sorry about that. It’s 3 cups, and I’ll make correction on the reply. I didn’t put the measurement on the recipe because she didn’t use all the fried rice balls for the recipe and had extras that she froze for next time, and she cooked 4 cups but only used roughly 3 cups.

  10. I love the recipe and flavors, but I’m having difficulty getting the balls to stay formed. Maybe my rice isn’t sticky enough? Or maybe I’m overmixing the rice so it loses it’s ability to stay formed? Any tricks?

    • Hi Pompiere, I think it’s the egg that helps hold it together. I thought they would use sticky rice for this, but kind of surprise that it’s cooked jasmine rice.

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