Friday, February 8, 2008

Trying Out Something Different

One of my favorite Lao dishes is som moo (soured pork sausage). As a child, I remember watching and helping my parents make it. I think this is the same envelope mix they used. I really wanted to make some but I don't quite trust myself with the task yet. I don't want to end up giving myself or worse others food poisoning. My parents usually made som moo for special occasions or for when we went visiting other Laotian families. Sometimes my mom would make an extra batch and save it to make nem khao, which is another of my favorite dishes. Eventhough I live in an area where I can buy som moo, I had a hard time finding 'the right kind' to satisfy my nem khao craving. I've mistakenly purchased in the past some that were 'sweet' instead of sour/salty. So I decided to do what my mom did when she didn't have any som moo available to her. Here's my version of nem khao. There are two steps to making this dish. First you prepare the rice balls and fry them and then the second step is assembling the dish.

I don't have a recipe with exact measurements. For the rice balls, I cooked 3 cups of jasmine rice. To that I added, 1 1/2 C of grated coconut, 3 tablespoons of Mesaman red curry paste, 1/2 lb. of cooked ground pork, 6 thinly sliced green onions, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Everything can be adjusted to your personal taste preference. I love the taste and smell of the curry paste but others might not like it as much.

I add all those ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix.

To form the balls, I put some of the mixture into a zip lock bag and form the balls (so that I don't touch the mixture - the curry paste irratates my skin). I made about 16 balls. After forming all the balls, I placed them on a tray in the freezer before I fried them. When I was deep frying the balls, I did have one that fell apart on me.

To assemble the dish, I chopped up more green onions and a large bunch of cilantro, fried 14 dried chili peppers, chopped up some dry roasted peanuts, sliced two limes, and prepared some thinly shredded pork skin.

And one package of cubed ham. I know this recipe is strange but it really does taste great. And I find it hard to get others to try som moo so this is a nice alternative to the traditional nem khao.

In a large mixing bowl, I crumbled the balls, mixed in the lime juice and the rest of the ingredients except for the peppers. I served the nem khao over lettuce and garnished with the peppers and mint leaves. I could eat this for the next 3 days. It never lasts more than a couple of hours in my house.