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5 from 10 votes

Lao Crispy Rice Salad (Nam Khao)

A Lao crispy rice salad (Nam Khao) with crispy, chewy textures with a balance of sweet, tart, salty and spiciness.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Laotian
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 341kcal
Author: Joyce | Pups with Chopsticks


Crispy Rice

Nuoc Cham Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • cup hot water
  • 2 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • ½ lime (juiced)
  • 1 ½ tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 red birdseye chili (sliced)

Salad Toppings

  • som moo (fermented meat sausage)
  • mint
  • basil
  • cilantro
  • fried onions
  • toasted peanuts
  • toasted rice powder  (you can also make this yourself by toasting sticky rice grains and then blitzing it in a food processor or using mortar and pestle)
  • shallots (sliced and soaked in cold water to remove the raw bite)
  • green onions (chopped)
  • birdseye chili peppers
  • lime juice


Crispy Rice Balls

  • Soak the sticky rice for a minimum of 4 hours. Drain water
  • In a pot, bring water to a boil and pour the rice into a colander and set on top of the pot. Put the lid on and steam for 15 mins.
  • After 15 minutes, turn the rice over in the colander so the other side can be steamed for 15 minutes. Steam rice until it is translucent. (Be careful, the colander is very hot!)
  • Remove rice from the pot, put it into a bowl and cover with a towel for 15-30 minutes until warm and sticky.
  • Add in the curry paste, lime leaves, garlic, shallot, sugar, fish sauce and egg and mix well.
  • Set deep fryer to 350F (176C), or medium heat on a pot of oil on the stove.
  • Create rice balls or oval patties with the rice mix. (Oil your hands so they don't stick to your hands)
  • Deep fry them for 3 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Set aside to cool.

Nuoc Cham Dressing

  • Combine the sugar and the hot water first to melt it evenly into the water.
  • Then add the remainder of the ingredients and put it in the fridge to cool

Putting the Salad Together

  • Break up the rice balls and som moo and put into a bowl
  • Add in the toppings and dressing and mix well
  • Serve with lettuce leaves
  • Eat with a spoon or wrapped in lettuce :)


  • Rice Balls can keep in the fridge in a well sealed container for 3-4 days. Use the rice balls cold to create the salad.


Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 341kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 11g | Sodium: 1139mg | Sugar: 11g