Now that you know how to make your own Som Moo, let´s have a look at Nhem. :biggrin:

Often and incorrectly referred to as “Laotian Fried Rice” :blink: , Nhem is more akin to a “Laotian Rice Salad“. :happy:

This seasoned rice dish can be served as a whole meal. We like to refry some of the rice crusts until they are extra crunchy and add these at the very last moment.


The amount of Seasoning used really depends on your personal taste, so use our measurements as a guideline.



(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

Dried Chillies

Crushed Peanuts


*Coconut Milk is normally available in 400ml tins, do not shake the tin before opening, what you want is the thick creamy part.



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 in to the Rice. Form balls, the size of Tennis Balls, making sure that you pack them tightly as this will stop them from breaking up whilst frying.

Dip the Rice Balls in to the Beaten Eggs then dredge in the Corn Starch.


Deep fry until golden brown then allow to cool a little.

Carefully crack open the balls and scoop out the Rice in to a clean bowl breaking up the crust as you go along. Reserve some of the crust for frying later.






Give the rice a gentle stir and allow to come to room temperature.

Add the chopped Som Moo and Shallots, season with the Fish Sauce and Lime Juice to taste (some people add a little Sugar).


Add the Coriander (Cilantro) and Mint then lightly mix.

Return the reserved crusts to the deep fryer and fry until crispy and brown, drain on paper towels.

Once the crust are warm enough to handle crumble them 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.



Deep frying the Dried Chillies for a few seconds greatly improves their flavour.

You can replace the Crushed Peanuts with Cashew Nuts of even toasted Almonds.

The rice balls can be made and scooped out beforehand and kept under cling film until needed (not in the fridge). The reserved crust can be deep fried and kept in an airtight container. The rest of the ingredients and seasonings can be added just before serving.


16 thoughts on “Nhem

  1. Wow! Thank you so much for posting up this recipe.  This bring back childhood memories when my grandma used to make this dish in a huge batch and had family and friends come to eat.  Its not only delicious but fun to eat as well, especially when you sit on the floor with a lot of people and use your hands.  I can’t wait to try and make your Som Moo Recipe and this Nhem recipe! I love this site, you guys are doing such a marvelous job.

  2. Thanks for posting this recipe. 

    I am referring your site to a friend who likes this dish very much. I am sure that she’ll find other recipes to try too.

  3. Hola Kim,

    Very glad that you like the site. Nhem is a great dish for anytime of year, but especially good in the summer when loads of herbs are available. We hope you enjoy it!

  4. Thank you so much! This is one of my favorite things to eat while in Vientiane. I’m excited to try your recipe!

  5. Hi Champa, thanks for your nice comments!

    Now that summer is here, its time to chill some beer and make some Nhem! Hope you enjoy the recipe! :biggrin:

  6. I was introduced to this dish a couple years ago and LOVED it. I recently introduced it to my Mexican fiance lol and he can eat it everyday! I’ve been looking online for the recipe and had no luck till today!!! I am so glad you did this site. Thanks so much!

  7. Pingback: Nhem Khao, Laotian crisp rice salad - eatshowandtell

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  9. I am jumping up and down in excitement!
    15 years ago,travelling in Asia as a young girl I had this dish on the streets of Vientiane and never forgot about it.
    Not knowing what I actually ate,other then it tasted like nothing else I had eaten before or after,I had no luck finding out what it was and how to make it. By chance I found you blog with this recipe and now I finally know what this amazing dish was.This weekend I will cook it for my boyfriend and I am sure he will love it just as much as I did. Thank you so very much for sharing,you made my day!

    Greetings from Norway!

  10. I’ve tried this recipe twice now, and both times, they were so yummy! Thrilled to have found your site.

  11. Pingback: Spiced Rice Salad by King Cook Daily : Laocook

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