Ben Cole

In my opinion, the best pork sausages are found in Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. Nem nuong embodies the perfect balance of meatiness, spiciness, sweetness and saltiness. The rich, savory bacon and the warm spices of cinnamon and star anise in the five-spice powder pair beautifully with the fresh, lively herbs. This recipe requires forming the sausages like little kebabs around a skewer. However, the pork mixture can also be stuffed into sausage casings You can use any protein you like and marinate it the same way as directed in this recipe. Beef or pressed firm tofu are common substitutes.

How to Make It

Step 1

To make the marinated chicken, combine the chicken with the sweet soy sauce, sesame oil and oil in a small bowl. Mix everything together thoroughly to ensure the chicken is coated. Set the chicken aside.

Step 2

To make the fried rice, heat the oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-low heat. Add 3 of the shallots. Fry the shallots, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes or until they are golden brown. Carefully transfer the fried shallots to paper towels to drain. Keep the oil in the wok.

Step 3

Increase the heat to medium-high, add the chicken and stir-fry it for 2 to 3 minutes, until it is brown and cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Add the remaining 2 shallots and garlic to the wok.

Step 4

Cook them just until the garlic begins to turn golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp paste and stir-fry the mixture for 30 seconds.

Step 5

Increase the heat to high, then add the rice to the wok. (I find it easiest to use damp hands to break up the rice and crumble it into the wok.)

Step 6

Stir-fry the rice for about 1 minute, until the oil and shrimp paste are evenly mixed with the rice. Add the sweet soy sauce and stir-fry the rice for 1 minute, until the sauce is well mixed with the rice. Add the chicken and chilies (if using) to the wok, and stir-fry the mixture for 1 minute, until the ingredients are well combined.

Step 7

Remove the fried rice from the heat, divide into 4 bowls and serve each portion with a fried egg, prawn crackers, spring onions, tomato wedges, cucumber and lime wedges.

Chef's Notes

Kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) is a thickened, sweet soy sauce generally available at larger grocery stores and Asian grocery stores. You can also make your own by bringing 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of light soy sauce and 1⁄4 cup (36 g) of brown sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the sauce for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is almost the consistency of maple syrup. It’s best to store this sauce in a glass jar at room temperature, as it will thicken and become stickier as it cools.

Reprinted with permission from Sweet, Savory, Spicy by Sarah Tiong, Page Street Publishing Co. 2020.

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