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Low FODMAP crispy rice salad (Nam Khao inspired)

I have been seeing crispy rice salad all over my TikTok feed of late. Because it looks and sounds so incredibly delicious, I knew I had to give it a go with my low FODMAP Thai red curry paste. TikTok served me well – this low FODMAP crispy rice salad is everything you want a salad to be and more.

An aerial image of a bright blue ceramic plate topped with a crispy red rice salad, cucumbers, herbs and peanuts.

Low FODMAP crispy rice salad (Nam Khao inspired)

First, a word on the name. I debated calling this Nam Khao, the Laotian salad it is inspired by. However, I’m sure that my version is wholly authentic. In researching the dish, I found a lot of recipes use fermented Thai sausage and also deep fry the rice (with egg) in balls as opposed to baking the rice.

Of course, there’s also the fact that low FODMAP recipes omit onion, garlic and shallots, which are traditional to the dish.

With these facts in mind, I decided to name the recipe as it is. My intention is never to take from another cuisine, but simply to provide delicious recipes to those with dietary restraints and allergies.

So! Onto the low FODMAP crispy rice salad. Cooked white rice is coated in a low FODMAP red curry paste and baked until crispy.

The crispy red rice is then combined with fresh herbs and cucumbers, a delicious and vibrant nuoc mam style dressing and crunchy peanuts. My take on the Laotian dish is low FODMAP, vegetarian or vegan, gluten free and easily nut free. It’s worth the effort, I promise.

An aerial image of a large white ceramic serving plate topped with Low FODMAP crispy rice salad. The salad is deep brown and topped with fresh cucumber, herbs and peanuts, and two serving spoons stick out to the right of the bowl. The platter sits atop a medium green backdrop surrounded by water glasses, extra ingredients and an extra plate of red rice salad

FODMAP notes

Although I initially intended for this dish to use my low FODMAP red Thai curry paste, I settled on a purpose built version. My original recipe contained water which meant the crispy rice wasn’t quite as crispy. I also added a few more bold flavours to stand up to the delicious nuoc mam.

Store bought pastes contain onion or shallot and garlic, as well as lots of chilli (which is high in fructose). For my vegetarians and vegans, they also generally contain fish sauce and shrimp paste.

I have used regular chillies for this dish. This is because I am a chilli wimp, but also because they have a low FODMAP threshold of 28g or around 1 medium chilli. Depending on how many you intend to serve, that means you can add up to 6 chillies. Personally that would be the end of my tastebuds, so I stuck with 2 1/2 chillies (seeds removed).

Lebanese cucumbers are low FODMAP in 75g serves per person. However, they don’t contain moderate amounts of fructose until the exceed 265g serves per person. You can use 2 if you are concerned about exceeding fructose limits.

Peanuts are currently only rated as low FODMAP in 28g serves on the app. Monash have been doing some app updating and have recently removed helpful upper limits. Before they removed the upper limit for peanuts, Monash said that they contained only trace amounts of FODMAPs. Until they update the app, I will keep this recipe as is.

Finally, a note on the vegan shrimp paste and fish sauce. I LOVE Vincent the Vegetarian brand here in Australia. Not only are they vegan but they don’t contain onion or garlic. See substitution notes if you don’t have access to vegan shrimp paste.

An aerial image of a ceramic serving plate atop a white and white marble backdrop in contrasting sunlight. The plate is topped with a low FODMAP crispy rice salad garnished with herbs, cucumbers and peanuts. Bowls of ingredients and limes surround the serving platter.

Substitution options

If you have absolutely any chance of sourcing Thai basil and Vietnamese mint, please do! They are integral to the deliciousness of the dish and I think they really bring everything together. If there’s one thing I wouldn’t suggest omitting, it’s these herbs.

If you absolutely can’t find them, I would say mint and coriander would be your best bets. It will change the essence of the dish, but I think it will still be delicious. You can see in some photos that I have added extra coriander to some of my tests.

For those with nut or peanut allergies, simply omit the peanuts.

To bulk the dish out a little, I like to add some crispy tofu cubes from the Asian supermarket. They’re light and fluffy and don’t distract from the salad in the same way that firm tofu fried in soy sauce would.

As discussed, you can substitute the galangal for ginger if you can’t find it.

Makrut lime leaves are available at most Australian supermarkets these days. You can also buy them in bulk in the frozen section of Asian grocers, which is what I do. The limes themselves are harder to find. When I see them, I buy plenty and stock my freezer. Their flavour is unparalleled!

If you can’t find Vincent the Vegetarian brand vegan shrimp paste (or another vegan low FODMAP shrimp paste), you have a few options. You could experiment with adding some fermented tofu for funkiness (in Asian grocers) or add a dark miso paste to your tastes. Vincent the vegetarian brand shrimp paste’s primary ingredient is soybeans, so it’s kind of like a flavoured miso paste.

An aerial macro close up of a low FODMAP crispy rice salad topped with fresh herbs, peanuts and slices of cucumber.

Recipe tips for your low FODMAP crispy rice salad

  • Dried rice will be the easiest to crisp up on the oven. Wet rice will likely break as you stir in the curry paste. I highly recommend cooking your rice the night before or at least 2-3 hours in advance. You can cool it on a baking tray to dry it out more quickly.
  • If you like it super spicy, add more red chilli than the recipe specifies. It mellows out as it cooks with the rice.
  • If you don’t have a small food processor (I have a mini KitchenAid for curry paste) use a jug and an immersion blender. Small batches of curry paste are super annoying to make in large blenders or food processors.
  • Every brand of vegan fish sauce will be different. Add them to your tastes. Brands like Niulife are much sweeter and you will need to adjust the flavour profile of your dressing to suit. I use Vincent The Vegetarian.
  • Lining your baking tray makes it easy for you to decant the rice onto the serving platter. It also prevents pieces of rice crisping solid to your tray.
  • Although I haven’t tried it, dividing the rice onto two lined trays might speed up the process. I have a small oven but you are absolutely welcome to try it. Keep an eye on the rice to ensure it doesn’t burn.
An image of a white ceramic plate topped with low FODMAP crispy rice salad. The salad is topped with fresh herbs, peanuts and cucumber and sits atop a bright green backdrop. Two glasses of water sit to the top left of the image.

More low FODMAP recipes

An aerial image of a white ceramic serving platted topped with low FODMAP crispy red rice salad. The salad is topped with cucumbers, herbs and peanuts and sits atop a steel grey backdrop. Two glasses of water sit to the top right of the image.

Low FODMAP crispy rice salad (Nam Khao inspired)

Low FODMAP, vegan option, dairy free
*This recipe uses Australian cups and measures. Use gram and ml for international accuracy.
Be the first to rate this recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine Food Intolerance Friendly
Servings 6 people


For the rice:

  • 400 g Jasmine rice cooked the night before or 2-3 hours before to allow it to dry out

For the curry paste:

  • 2-3 large red chillies de-seeded and chopped see notes
  • 50 g galangal or ginger grated see notes
  • 50 g lemongrass finely sliced the white parts of approx 2 large stalks of lemongrass
  • Good grating of makrut lime zest or 5-10 makrut lime leaves, stems removed and chopped finely
  • 1-4 pickled garlic cloves optional, see notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin or cumin seeds
  • 1-2 tablespoons sweet paprika for colour Use 4-8 teaspoons for NZ, USA, Canadian, UK and European teaspoons (which are 15ml as opposed to Australia's 20ml, which is what I use)
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt or to taste
  • white pepper to taste
  • ½ bunch (65g) spring onion greens, chopped
  • 3-4 Thai basil leaves, chopped (use the rest in the salad)
  • 3-4 Vietnamese mint leaves, chopped (use the rest in the salad)
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup)* neutral oil (I used vegetable)
  • 1 tablespoon vegan shrimp paste (I use Vincent the Vegetarian which contains no onion or garlic) (Use 4 teaspoons for NZ, USA, Canadian, UK and European teaspoons (which are 15ml as opposed to Australia's 20ml, which is what I use)
  • 10 ml 2 teaspoons maple syrup or 2 teaspoons white sugar

To finish:

  • 2-3 Lebanese cucumbers chopped
  • 1 bunch Vietnamese mint chopped
  • 1 bunch Thai basil chopped
  • ¾ – 1 cup roasted peanuts
  • remaining 1/2 bunch spring onions, finely chopped (optional)

For the dressing:

  • 40 g (2 tablespoons)* white sugar (Use 2 extra teaspoons for NZ, USA, Canadian, UK and European teaspoons)
  • 40 ml (2 tablespoons)* boiling water (Use 2 extra teaspoons for NZ, USA, Canadian, UK and European teaspoons)
  • 40 ml (2 tablespoons)* lime juice (Use 2 extra teaspoons for NZ, USA, Canadian, UK and European teaspoons)
  • 20-40 ml (1-2 tablespoons)* vegetarian fish sauce (see notes) (Use 1+ extra teaspoon for NZ, USA, Canadian, UK and European teaspoons)


  • Cook the rice the night before or 2-3 hours before to allow it to dry out. This will make it easier to crisp up the rice.
  • Preheat the oven to 220C/428F. Line a large baking tray.
  • Blend all the ingredients for the curry paste in a small blender until smooth. Taste and adjust according to your preferences, noting that the chilli gets a bit more muted once it cooks on the rice.
  • Combine the rice and curry paste until the rice is completely coated. I like to do this in a large bowl for ease.
  • Bake the rice in 20 minute increments, tossing it to encourage even cooking. I like to cook my rice for 1 hour or even 1 hour 20 minutes, tossing every 20 minutes, so it becomes super crispy. It will soften a little when the dressing is added.
  • While you’re waiting, make the nuoc mam. Combine the sugar and boiling water and allow the sugar to dissolve. Add the lime juice and vegetarian fish sauce and adjust according to your tastes. Set aside.
  • Once the rice is super crispy, remove it from the oven and allow it to mostly cool. Pouring the dressing over hot rice will make it lose it’s crispiness quickly.
  • Once mostly cool, transfer the rice to a large serving platter. Add the cucumbers, chopped herbs, peanuts and (optional) spring onion greens and stir to combine.
  • Pour over the nuoc mam and serve. Leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a number of days.


  • Dried rice is important to maximise the crispiness of your rice. I recommend making it the night before.
  • Be sure to follow the basic guidelines for food safety when cooking and storing rice to avoid illness.
  • I find the chilli in the curry paste gets muted as it cooks with the rice. If you like it extra spicy, add more chilli.
  • Galangal is authentic but a pain in the butt to grate and trickier to find in Australian supermarkets. I have tested this recipe with both and didn’t notice a huge difference, so use ginger if you can’t access galangal.
  • Pickled garlic is a new low FODMAP ingredient. I have a recipe for it here
  • Different brands of vegetarian fish sauce have different salinities and flavour profiles, so add them to taste. I used and love Vincent The Vegetarian in Australia. 
Keyword low fodmap rice salad, low fodmap salad, low fodmap vegan, low fodmap vegetarian
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