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Authentic Vietnamese recipes from the Motherland

Vietnamese Grilled Pork Sausage (Nem Nuong)

When I feel like torturing the neighbors, I take out the grill and barbecue up Nem Nuong, Vietnamese grilled pork sausage. I put on my Vietnamese straw hat and fan the aroma of this tasty Vietnamese dish into their yard. Yes, that is what you get for constantly taking my parking.

Vietnamese Pork Sausage, Nem Nuong, fresh off the grill.

Vietnamese Pork Sausage, Nem Nuong, fresh off the grill.

You can find Nem Nuong in the frozen aisle of an Asian supermarket. Simply defrost and wrap the ground pork around a skewer or roll them into balls. Then toss them on the grill or bake in the oven. 

If you opt to make the sausage yourself but still want to save some time, you can use the instant seasoning powder and add fresh garlic. The more garlic, the better. I've been known to inhale the garlicy aroma of marinated Nem Nuong just right before grilling. That is my kind of aroma therapy. I occasionally use the instant seasoning powder when I'm short on time. The seasoning powder also has the beautiful signature pink color of Nem Nuong.

Grilled Vietnamese Ground Pork

If you prefer to avoid the mystery in the instant seasoning mix, then I have a recipe below for you to try. 

Nem Nuong is served in a variety of ways. I'm lazy so whenever I make Nem Nuong at home, I usually have them with steamed white rice and a side of fresh or pickled vegetables. At the restaurants, you are likely to be served Nem Nuong wrapped in rice paper with lettuce and fresh herbs and a side of dipping sauce. You can also be served Nem Nuong in a bowl of rice noodles with fresh herbs and a spicy and sweet fish sauce dressing. In a Vietnamese deli, you can have it in a Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich. However you have it, it's a classic dish that will surely give you a taste of Vietnam.

Skewered Vietnamese Pork Sausage, Nem Nuong, ready for the grill.

Skewered Vietnamese Pork Sausage, Nem Nuong, ready for the grill.

Ingredients

Serves 5-7

  • 3 lbs finely ground pork shoulder (have the butcher ground the pork twice)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons roasted rice powder (available in the spice section)
raw nem nuong

Instructions

  1. Mix together the baking powder, water, sugar, fish sauce, garlic and rice powder.
  2. Add the mixture to the ground pork and mix well.
  3. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight for best results to firm the meat.
  4. Skewer or roll into balls.
  5. Grill or bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  6. To get the signature pink color, I used about two tablespoons of of instant Nem Nuong seasoning mix. Where does the color come from? I really don't know and I' afraid to find out. This step was simply for the coloring. You can certainly omit this step without affecting flavor.
Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom