Rice is the staple throughout south east Asia.  It is served with every meal and generally cooked once a day for consumption throughout the day.  Leftover ice is often re-fried.  This dish is popular along the entire length of the Mekong River, hence the name.  A similar version of the dish peers in our book of the week, Hot Sour Salty Sweet. The cooked rice is flavoured with lemongrass, shrimp and shallot paste, a speciality of central Vietnam. This rice is delicious, served on its own with a Vietnamese herb and salad platter, and some dipping sauce. For a bit more extravagance, grilled fish or chicken can be served with it.


4 cups cold cooked Asian rice (or cook 2 cups raw rice)

1T dried shrimp, soaked in a little hot water for 5 minutes

1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and cut into ±2cm lengths

1 small onion

3 spring onions

1t sugar

Pinch of salt

2T oil

2T garlic, minced

3 spring onions, trimmed, and julienned into ±5cm lengths

2T roasted sesame seeds

1T fish sauce, or to taste

2 tomatoes, sliced (or 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced)

1/2 bunch coriander, finely chopped

Freshly ground pepper

  1. Place the cooked rice in a large bowl, and with damp hands, break up any clumps, and set aside.
  2. Place the shrimp, with its soaking water, the lemongrass, onions, spring onions, sugar and salt in a large mortar, or spice grinder, and grind to a paste.
  3. Heat a large heavy wok or frying pan over high heat. Add the oil, toss in the garlic and stir-fry for 10 seconds, taking care not to burn. Add the paste and stir-fry for ±3 minutes, until it is golden.
  4. Add the spring onions and stir-fry briefly.
  5. Sprinkle the rice into the wok and stir-fry for ±2 minutes, tossing and pressing the rice against the sides of the wok until well mixed, with some of the rice crisping up to golden.
  6. Add the sesame seeds and fish sauce, and stir-fry for ±30 seconds. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  7. Transfer to a serving platter, garnish with coriander and pepper, and arrange the tomato slices around the rice.
  8. Serve with the herb and salad platter and dipping sauce, or with chicken.

Serves 4-6

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