This Vietnamese dish used to be a rustic food during hard times, and quite popular in northern Vietnam. A condiment made of crushed peanuts, sesame and salt is the cheapest way to eat with rice. Now this rustic meal is considered as a nutritious food. And since it is vegan, it can be a good way to refresh your food palate.
Etymologically, “cơm nắm” means “squeezed (cooked) rice”. To prepare these rice balls, you will need cooked rice. The Vietnamese prefer aromatic and a bit sticky rice, but not the true glutinous rice. Other dry types of rice is not suitable because they will likely to fall apart.
So, freshly-cooked rice is kneaded so that the rice sticks together. In the past, such rice balls are so firm that you can slice the rice balls into smaller pieces but the rice grains do not fall apart.
The rice balls may also served with Vietnamese sausages or pork floss.
The rice for making rice balls is not sticky rice.
The truly Vietnamese rice balls require you knead the cooked rice, so the texture of the rice balls will be firm.