Vegetarian fresh mushroom 'nem' in roast rice flour

May, 29/2022 - 09:04

With Food stylist Hoàng Long

With Food stylist Hoàng Long

Vegetarian fresh mushroom 'nem' in roast rice flour

Vegetarian 'nem chạo', roast-ground rice coated mix

Food stylist Hoàng Long from concocted this recipe to make a vegetarian version of the original pork-based dish. The fried spring rolls, known as nem, are Sài Gòn style as they are fried. Traditionally, it's a mix of boiled pork (lard, ears, or skin), marinated and covered with golden brown roast rice flour, then squeezed into balls called nem. 

This dish is popular for men's drinking parties. Now it's popular among everyone, especially office workers as a snack.

This vegetarian variety can replace the protein intake and still maintain the chewy yet buttery flavour of the dish.

Time: 15-20 minutes

Serves: 2

- Chicken leg mushrooms: 500g

- Roast rice flour: 150g

- Regular, non-sticky rice: 70g

- Glutinous rice:30g

- Lime leaves: 20g

- Fresh red chilli: 1

- Garlic powder: 5g or fresh crushed garlic

- Vegetarian oil: 1/2 tsp

- Seasoning 

Golden brown roast, ground rice: You can double or triple this recipe, make it in advance and store it in the fridge. The flour can be mixed into meat or salad dishes, enhancing the flavour and saving you much time. 

- In two separate bowls, wash the ordinary rice and glutinous rice, then rinse and soak them for 1-2 hours, drain the rice.

- Let them dry completely so that when you roast them, it will take you less time.

- In a hot frying pan on medium heat, add the regular rice, stir well in circles for 5 minutes, lower the heat, keep stirring for about 15 more minutes until the rice grains become golden brown and fragrant, and remove from the heat. Then do the same with the glutinous rice. 

- Grind both types of roast rice in a dry blender to get a mixture of golden brown rice flour ready to mix with other ingredients.

- The roast rice flour smells so good. If you don't want to do it yourself, ask for thính gạo at any pork paste and sausage stall. It's also used to make bait for people who like fishing. The Vietnamese term "thả thính" or releasing bait, means you're trying to get people to fall into your love trap. 

 But there's no hook at all to this simple and very delicious dish. 


Food stylist Hoàng Long


- Wash the mushrooms, let dry; Use a sharp knife to cut into slices.

- Soak the sliced mushroom in boiling water for a few minutes, then rinse and squeeze out any excess water.

- On a pan, heat half a teaspoon of oil then stir-fry the mushrooms.

- Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, and seasoning; mix well and keep stirring until all is well cooked. Remove from heat. 

- Let it cool, and julienne the lime leaves and chilli. The lime leaves must be cut very fine, like threads. It's not easy to finely julienne the lime leaves the first time, but if you do it several times, you'll master the skill, which is very useful in Vietnamese cooking.

- In a mixing bowl, add the cooled mushrooms, mix well with the garlic powder and roast rice flour.

- Sprinkle the lime-leaf threads and chili on top, and mix well.

- You should end up with a dish of mushroom salad that looks brownish, well marinated and smells delicious.


This dish can be dipped in chilli sauce, wrapped in fig, mint and panax ginseng leaves, and then in a sour-sweet fish sauce.

This is a great taste changer in a meal, suitable for both vegans and non-vegans, and can be consumed as a healthy, tasty snack for anyone. VNS