Naem Khao Tod is a fresh salad originating from Laos, simply exploding with incredibly stimulating textures and flavors. Tha Deua, a small port just outside of Vientiane, holds legendary status for its version of the memorable dish. From Laos, it traveled through Isaan, and then throughout Thailand, carving an undeniable niche into the Thai culinary landscape.
The enormous popularity of Naem Khao Tod across Thailand should not be surprising in the least. Anticipation of the intense spiciness from toasted dried chilies, and the sweet salty tartness of fresh squeezed lime juice dressing, triggers an immediate salivary response. Crumbled deep-fried rice ball and sour, fermented northern sausage (naem) are added, and the whole glorious mix is tossed with refreshingly aromatic fresh mint leaves, slivers of ginger and crunchy roasted peanuts. Finally, it is served with slightly peppery betel leaves to scoop up the delicious mix. Although actually quite a simple dish, it possesses a unique, unmatched fusion of complexity which, once enjoyed, is impossible to forget.
Crispy Rice Ball-Croquette Salad (ยำแหนมข้าวทอด)
Mix the rice ball ingredients in a mixing bowl: the cooked jasmine rice, minced pork, red curry paste, whole egg and salt. Then make into balls and roll the balls in the bread crumb.
Heat the oil for deep frying to 170 Celsius and fry the rice balls until golden brown. Make sure it cooks through to the center. You can check this with an insert thermometer or use a metal skewer by inserting it into the center of the croquette, leaving it for a couple of seconds than removing it and placing the end of the skewer on your palm. It should slightly sting if it is hot enough, it will not burn don't worry.
Make the salad dressing by combining fish sauce and palm sugar in a pot and dissolve and combine over low heat. Then set aside until cool and add lime juice. So there is nice a refreshing zing to the dressing.
Mix all the salad ingredients into a mixing bowl. With the rice ball (croquette) break it with your hand into big chunks, than add the northern sausage, ground dried small red chilli, red shallots, ground roasted rice, ginger, long leaf coriander then add salad dressing. Toss together.
Then add shallot, coriander and hand torn mint and gently mix together.