There are street food snacks that are easy to get off the streets so you never think of cooking them. Among these, the pork sausage 'nem chua' or 'som mou' in (Lao), lean pork and skin fermented with glutinous rice, salt and crushed garlic, wrapped generously in banana leaves and let to pickle over 4 days. With our aunty gifting us with a sachet of 'Lobo mix', we felt we ought to try so we went on a testing spree, using a traditional recipe for half; and the other half with the ready-mix powder. Both worked well, the difference is in the color and the texture with the ready-mix giving a more attractive pink color and a firmer sausage. Here is the recipe, in case you are bored of baking bread, pandemic oblige.
500g / 1 lb of lean pork
250 g of pork skin
100 g cooked glutinous rice
100g crushed garlic
1) Soak the glutinous rice for a night; steam the rice for about 20 min.
2) Prepare the banana leaves by wiping the leaves with a soft cloth; make rectangles of about 25 cm x 25 cm (10" x 10"); soften in leaving them under hot sun or hover over a burner (yes, go super fast).
3) Lean pork: remove all fat, nerves and chop until fine grain. Refrigerate.
4) Pork skin: remove all fat, boil the skin until soft, about 15 minutes. Rinse 2-3 times the pork skin with tap water, lemon juice. Slice the pork skin (length of about 2 phalanges; 1-2 mm thick); rinse the sliced pork skin with room tap water in a basin, gently knead to remove any fat. Do it again 2-3 times. Drain and refrigerate.
5) Loosen the glutinous rice with 1-2 tsp of water; crush the garlic with the mortar (don't use a blender, mixer) as we need the liquid to help ferment.
6) knead the ground pork with salt and garlic for about 20-30 minutes until the mixture is super sticky and form a plastic-like texture. Add the pork skin and continue to knead for another 5 minutes.
7) Once the paste is done, form rolls; and wrap with 2 banana sheets. PLEASE DO NOT USE PLASTIC FOOD WRAP !!! it defeats the whole purpose of having the flavor of the banana leaves. Then tighten with elastic bands in 2 or 3 sections of the roll. See video here of aunt Gigi, she is doing a great share: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ejk8gVsOEzE
8) leave at room temperature (over a fridge is great) for 4 days. Don't leave it longer. If you have made a good paste, it will ferment adequately; if not, it will be spoilt (so to throw away). Keep in the fridge and enjoy with hot glutinous rice, beef jerky, papaya salad and a tomato salsa 'cheo mak leng'.
If you use the ready-mix Lobo, just follow the instructions on the pack. No glutinous rice is needed but the rest: yes ! And you will only need to knead for 5-10 minutes.