13 cups cooked rice, cooled (see Cook's Note)
1 cup grated coconut
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion (1/2 onion)
3 tablespoons red curry paste
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoons granulated chicken-flavored soup base
1 tablespoon sugar
5 cups neutral oil, for frying
Five 5-ounce packs cured pork/fermented pork sausage, cut into bite-size pieces (see Cook's Note)
1 bag cooked sliced pork skin (about 7 ounces), soaked in cold salted water, rinsed twice and air dried, optional (see Cook's Note)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup julienned ginger, optional
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, optional
1 tablespoon lime juice
Fried whole chiles, as desired, optional
3 heads lettuce, for serving, optional
For the rice balls: In a large mixing bowl, add the cooled rice, grated coconut, chopped onion, red curry paste, oyster sauce, paprika, salt, soup base, sugar and egg and gently toss until the rice mixes well with the other ingredients. Form small balls by squeezing the rice between both hands; remember to make them tight so they will not fall apart when frying. Rest the rice balls in the fridge for 1 hour before frying.
To fry the balls: Heat the oil in a large frying pan until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Add the balls to the frying pan in batches of 6 to 7, making sure not to overcrowd the pan or the balls will stick together and the rice will break apart. Cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to drain the oil. Repeat with the remaining rice balls. Let cool for 1 hour at room temperature.
For the salad: In a large bowl, break the fried rice balls apart and add the cured pork, pork skin if using, cilantro, green onion, ginger if using, sugar, roasted peanuts if using, lime juice and fried chiles if using and gently mix them together well. Eat with or without lettuce.
When cooking the steamed rice, make sure that you use 1/2 cup less water than the normal ratio. You want to make sure your rice is not too soggy or your rice balls will not be crispy. Both the fermented pork sausage and pork skin can be found in Asian specialty food stores.
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