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Nem Nướng on a plate of salad next to a dish of fish sauce
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5 from 8 votes

Nem Nướng (Vietnamese Grilled Pork Skewers)

Nem Nướng is Vietnam's smoky sweet and savory pork skewer. These are perfect for grilling on the BBQ, in the oven or over a stove!
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Vietnamese
Servings: 10
Calories: 956kcal
Author: Jeannette

Equipment

  • Food processor

Ingredients

For The Mince

  • 1 kg / 2.2 lb pork mince
  • 200 g / 0.44 lb pork fat (we get it frozen from the butcher)
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 red shallot
  • 2 1/2 tbsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp pepper

The Pork Paste

  • 500 g / 1.1 lb pork mince (semi-frozen)
  • 2 US cup water
  • 3 tsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp fish sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 80 g / 0.18 lb ice cubes (crushed)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp potato starch
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tsp annatto seeds

For The Glaze

  • 5 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp water

Instructions

The Mince

  • Blitz the garlic and shallots until fine.
  • Add the mince into the food processor with the blitzed garlic and shallots and season with the chicken bouillon powder, salt, sugar, fish sauce and pepper.
  • Blitz for 30 seconds or until it forms a paste. Take the paste out and put it in the freezer.

The Pork Paste

  • Finely chop the pork fat.
  • Combine 1 tsp sugar with the water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the pork fat in and cook for 1 minute, then drain. Mix the pork fat with 1 tsp sugar until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Heat up a saucepan on low heat and pour 4 tbsp oil in along with the annatto seeds. Cook for 3 miutes or until the oil has turned red, then drain and leave aside for later.
    Note: If you prefer a redder Nem Nướng, use more annatto seeds and oil.
  • In the food processor, add the frozen mince along with the chicken bouillon powder, 1 tsp sugar, fish sauce, baking soda, potato starch and crushed ice cubes. Blitz for 1 minute or until it resembles a smooth paste.
  • Add the first batch of blitzed mince in with the annatto seed oil and blitz for 2 minutes or until well combined, then transfer into a large mixing bowl.
  • Combine the mixed paste with the pork fat.

Preparing The Skewers

  • Make the glaze by mixing together the oil, honey, fish sauce and water. Set aside for later.
  • Grab a small handful of Nem Nướng paste and squeeze it around a skewer until it is smooth and has covered 3/4 of its length from the tip down. Try to make them roughly 1 1/2 cm (0.6") thick, otherwise the center will take too long to cook.
    Tip: Use gloves lightly coated with oil so the mixture doesn't stick to your hands.
  • If you're oven grilling the skewers, spread them out on an oven-safe tray lined with foil.
  • Cook them on a grill, oven or an oiled pan for 10 minutes, then brush the glaze over them and cook for another 2 minutes or until completely cooked. Make sure to rotate each skewer for an even grill.
  • Serve immediately as is with fresh salad and a Vietnamese dipping sauce!

Notes

  • Cook the pork skewers on a BBQ grill. This is how we like to enjoy it at parties because it helps to char the meat for a deep smokiness.
  • Dice the fat into smaller chunks. For a seamless bite, you'll want each piece to be as small as you can get it.
  • Brush the honey on at the end. Let the skewers cook until firm, then coat them to form a glaze as they grill in the oven.
  • We use pork fat to add extra flavor and texture to our Nem Nướng, but it can be skipped if the ingredient is hard to come by or if you'd prefer not to use it.
  • This recipe includes steps on how to make your own annatto seed oil, but you can skip that step by buying premade annatto seed oil in bottles at Asian supermarkets.
  • Instructions on how to make the pork paste is also included in this recipe, but you can buy it frozen in Asian supermarkets as well.
  • Use a neutral-flavored oil like rice bran, peanut or vegetable oil to avoid overpowering the glaze.

Nutrition

Calories: 956kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 83g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Cholesterol: 199mg | Sodium: 1365mg | Potassium: 747mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 14IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 2mg