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Monday, June 6, 2011

Nem chua Ham (Pickled Ham)

A friend brought this delicious, addicting Nem Chua Ham to the past Tet (Lunar New Year) dinner that I hosted. It was a big hit. Unlike the traditional Nem Chua which is made of raw pork or beef, this Nem Chua is made out of cooked Ham so everyone including my pregnant friends could also indulge.

My friend was kind enough to pass down his mother's invention of Nem Chua Ham's recipe . I was invited to his house to experiment first hand in his kitchen. As we were making Nem Chua, he recalled how his mother used to forced all of his brothers and himself to help her in the kitchen when they were young. His mother is an excellent cook and love to display her passion. Everyday, she would prepare three typical Vietnamese meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. During Tet, she would make hundreds of Nem Chua Ham and pass them out to all the relatives and friends. Thanks to her, I inherited a delicious recipe to share with family, friends, and blog fans.

As you may have guessed I came home and started experimenting and quantifying the ingredients for my blog fans since my friend and I cook by guestimation. The outcome turned out well except that it's less sour compare to my friend's Nem Chua Ham; I thought it tasted great but my husband prefered it a little bit more sour. Here is the recipe for you to try out.
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RECIPE: Nem Chua Ham
Make 80 rolls

3 cups Vinegar
2 cups Sugar
1 bag Ham (available at Costco)
3 bags Pork Skin
1/2 - 1 tablespoon Fresh Cracked Pepper or Pure Ground Black Pepper
4 tablespoons Mixture Vinegar*
1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons Lemon Pepper
a few fresh  Thai Chili Peppers, thinly sliced
a few cloves of Garlic, thinly sliced
Foil Wrap
Plastic Wrap
Soaking Ham

In a large bowl, soak ham in the mixture of vinegar and sugar for about two hours.
Preparing Pork Skin

Wash and rinse pork skin for a few time with warm water. Drain it well.
Add 4 tablespoons of mixture vinegar from the ham bowl, fresh cracked pepper and lemon pepper to pork skin and mix it well.
Making Ham Pickled

Place a piece of plastic wrap on a clean cutting board or a flat plate. Then place a slice of ham on the plastic wrap. Sprinkle some fresh ground pepper. Place pork skin on the ham then roll it up tightly.

Add a few slices chili pepper and garlic.  I think it looks more appetizing if I use red chili pepper. 

Roll everything in the plastic wrap and twist the two ends tightly to close.

Wrap it with a piece of foil wrap to complete it.
Store these Pickled Ham in fridge for a day to allow flavors to blend and develop before serving.
These Pickled Ham can be kept in the fridge for a few weeks.

I didn't do a good job on twisting the two ends tightly together to achieve good closure as you can see that the ends are protruding. 
Have fun and Enjoy!


  1. I'm glad to see that you made it with ham, I'm always afraid to eat it because it was "raw" meat : )

  2. I just discovered your blog recently, and I really love it. I tried beef-wrapped asparagus and it was fabulous. Thanks a lot for sharing your cooking talent and hard work with us. Would you please have a cross-section picture of this pickled ham. I'm just curious about how it looks :)

  3. I made this pickled ham a few months back and forgot to take a cross-section picture of this pickled ham. I will update the post the next time I make it again.

  4. I been following your blog in the last 6 month. I have tried many of your recipes and have come out wonderful and delicious!!!

    You are such an amazing cook and wish you live near me so I can watch and learn from you. I must say your daughter kids are good eaters. Unlike my kids they are picky!

    Thank you for sharing and look foward to seeing more.

    My dilemma these days as the weather is heating up is what to eat and what to cook. If you could share your weekly/monthly menu.

    Have you or do you have a recipe you can share on how to make Me(tamarind) Nem?

    Thanks again,

  5. Hi Brenda,
    During the summer time, I usually prepare food served with lots of vegetables and cucumber such as:
    Bún tom thit nuong(grilled shrimp and beef noodle)

    Com Ga Hai Nam (Steamed Chicken with Steamed Rice).

    Ca Nuong Cuon Banh Trang (grilled fish rolls in rice paper).

    Thit Heo Luoc and Tom cuon banh trang or eat with noodle (boiled pork and shrimps rolls with rice paper or eat with noodle).

    Thit Bo Luc Lac (Shaking Beef)and sliced hard boiled egg served on a bed of lettuce mixed with vinegar sauce.

    Sometimes I make a pot of thit xuong non kho trung (Braised baby spare rib Pork with Hard Egg) and store it in the fridge. Any days the kids have too many outdoor activities and I don't have time to cook, Braised pork is what we eat.

    As for Me Nem, I never heard of it. Let me do some research on it and will let you know.

  6. I did it! It turned out great! I love this version of nem chua ! Thanks so much for sharing the recipes!

  7. I did it! It turned out great!

  8. Thanks so much for sharing your recipes ! Can't wait to try them all!

  9. Hello, is there 1 bag of ham or 2? You write 1 but in the picture there are 2. Thanks.

    1. In the picture, I double the recipe. So just one bag.