Yam naem hed khao tod translates to deep fried rice salad with sour fermented mushrooms. This dish, which seems more complicated by the ingredient list than it actually is, utilises a combination of fried curry paste seasoned rice croquettes and lactic acid fermented mushroom sausage.
Only a little bit of red curry paste goes into the rice, so the flavour isn't spicy or over the top on its own. The added toasted chilli powder and deep fried chillies add heat, but can be omitted if you'd like. Indeed, like most Thai salads you can adjust seasonings and add-ins to suit personal preference. If you're missing some herbs, that's fine.
If you can't be arsed to make the sausages, that's okay too; the salad still tastes good without. An alternative is to cook up some storebought vegan sausage, break it up, and soak it in some lime juice.
Yam naem hed khao tod ยำแหนมเห็ดข้าวทอด (Thai crispy rice salad)
For the khao tod
- 1 packed cup cooked and cooled leftover jasmine rice 160 grams
- 1 tablespoon red curry paste see notes1
- 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon rice flour divided
- 3 packed tablespoons fresh (or frozen) grated coconut
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 1-2 makrut lime leaves centre vein removed, julienned
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- vegetable oil for frying
To bring the salad together
- 4-5 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons thin soy sauce see notes2
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼-⅓ cup naem hed (fermented mushroom) see notes3
- ¼ cup sliced shallot
- 3-4 tablespoons toasted or fried peanuts see notes6
- 3-4 tablespoons sliced spring onion
- 2 tablespoons thinly julienned fresh ginger
- 1-2 teaspoons prik bon (roasted chilli powder) see notes4
- Fried dried red chilies see notes5
- small handful Fresh coriander roughly chopped
- small handful Fresh chinese celery roughly chopped
- fresh vegetables and herbs e.g. cabbage, wild pepper leaf, herbs, lettuce, radish, etc...
- Mix the jasmine rice, curry paste, 1 tablespoon of the rice flour, grated coconut, salt, sugar, and kaffir lime leaf together with your hands. Mix thoroughly so all of the ingredients are combined into a sticky mass. Roll into 4 tight spheres. If the rice is sticking to your hands too much, try wetting them with water.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of rice flour to a small bowl and mix it with the 2 tablespoons of cold water.
- In a wok or saucepan, heat enough oil to cover the rice balls to 175 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Roll the rice balls in the rice water slurry and carefully add to the oil. Fry until the edges are crispy, around 7-10 minutes. Remove to drain on kitchen roll and allow to cool completely.
- Using your hands, break the cooled khao tod rice balls apart into bite sized chunks. Add to a bowl, along with the fermented mushroom and all of the remaining ingredients for the salad. Mix with your hands and serve with fresh vegetables, salad leaves, and herbs.
- For the red curry paste I use my prik gaeng kua recipe. You can use a storebought paste too, but you might need to adjust the seasoning (try adding less salt to begin with).
- Thai soy sauce differs from other Asian soy sauces. You can read my Thai soy sauce primer for more details, but if you don't feel like buy specifically Thai soy sauces you can use your Kikkoman or whatever you've got laying about too.
- Naem hed is a type of sour, fermented mushroom sausage. You can find either use my recipe or omit this ingredient entirely.
- Prik bon is easy to make, but if you don't fancy it you can get away with chilli flakes.
- To make the fried chillies, just toss a few into the oil when you're frying the rice cakes. Use smaller chillies like dried bird's eyes if you can, but anything will do. After a few seconds they'll turn a darker shade of red, which means they're done and you can drain them on some kitchen roll until it's time to dish up.
- In Thailand peanuts are fried in oil to toast (a few minutes on medium low heat, stirring constantly, before draining on kitchen roll to cool), but you can do this in the oven or use something store bought.