Nam Khao (Crispy Laotian Rice Salad)


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One of my favourite Lao dishes would have to be nam khao, also known as a Laotian crispy rice salad. This dish is made up of deep-fried rice balls with chunks of Laotian-style fermented pork sausage called som moo, and then a combination of fresh coriander, spring onions, peanuts and zingy lime juice.

You can get som moo (fermented pork) in Fairfield/Cabramatta/Canley Vale – most Asian grocery stores will stock them. If you can’t get them, substitute with some diced ham and a squeeze of lime juice.

Serves 4 – 6

What you need

Rice balls
2 cups cooked jasmine or sticky white rice
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 cup shredded coconut
250g minced pork
2 eggs
2 sliced spring onions
1 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 cups vegetable oil for frying

Add to the cooked rice balls
4 som moo or pickled pork, or 100g diced ham
juice from ½ a squeezed lime
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 tablespoons crushed peanuts
dried chilli flakes
chopped coriander and spring onions for garnish

What to do

Combine the ingredients to make the rice balls and mix well. Roll into balls slighter smaller than tennis balls and flatten slightly. Place the balls in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot, and fry the rice balls for 3 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown.

Place the rice balls in a large bowl, and break them apart. Add the som moo or ham, lime juice, peanuts, chilli, coriander and spring onions and mix well.

Traditionally this is eaten wrapped up in a cabbage or lettuce leaf with some fresh herbs.



  1. Ken Davis says:

    Hello and thanks for sharing this recipe. I enjoyed this dish for the first time on Sunday 17th July at a Lao Thai restaurant at Fairfield. Beautiful flavours and wonderfully textured. Shall make this very soon.

  2. Thao says:

    Hi Ken, thanks for your comment :) I always enjoy Laos in Fairfield too, I think it’s the best in Sydney – hope you enjoy this recipe!

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