This humble dish, once considered “poor man’s rice,” has become a popular Vietnamese dish. Cơm Tấm is a rice dish that will have you wondering why you even bothered to try other foods. did I catch your attention? OK Good.
Tấm means broken grains of rice while Cơm means boiled rice. Cơm Tấm is a dish made from broken grains of rice. The broken semolina grains produced a somewhat sticky texture after cooking that absorbs flavors well. Because they’re smaller, they also cook a lot faster.
Like many Vietnamese dishes, Cơm Tấm can be enjoyed any time of the day. In Vietnam, cơm tấm is considered the most iconic southern food, particularly in Saigon, while phở reigns supreme in the north.
What comes with Com Tam
Cơm Tấm comes with many different items including:
grilled meat — The most common are grilled pork chops with lemongrass (sườn nướng sả). However, you can also add other types of grilled meats such as thinly sliced beef, pork shoulder and/or shrimp.
Pickled daikon and carrots or other pickled vegetables
Fresh vegetables — These typically include cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce.
Chả Trứng — A Vietnamese meatloaf made with steamed egg and pork.
Sunny side fried egg — Because eggs in an egg and meatloaf are not enough.
shallot oil — A garnish of chopped spring onions lightly fried in oil. This side dish is spread over grilled meat and rice.
Bi — Cooked, thinly sliced pork and pork skin tossed in a mixture of toasted rice powder.
Nước Chấm — The mother sauce of Vietnam, a sweet, sour and savory sauce served as a side dish. Pour the sauce over the rice plate to bring everything together.
Light clear soup — Serve as a side dish in case the rice plate doesn’t already contain enough food.
History of ComTam
Com Tam is a dish of poverty. Rice was a precious commodity in Vietnam. Rice farmers would save the rice that broke during the milling process. Broken rice grains were considered inferior and therefore harder to sell, so farmers used the broken rice for themselves and their families instead of wasting it. Over time, this simple dish has become a staple of Vietnamese cuisine.
How to make Com Tam
I like to cook Cơm Tấm in the rice cooker just like my regular rice. Rinse it well with water a few times until the water runs clear. It’s best to do this in a colander to avoid excess water spilling the final amount of water you need. Cơm Tấm usually requires a 1:1 ratio. I usually cook 2 cups of rice with 2 cups of water to make about 4 servings. Place it in the rice cooker and press start. When the rice is ready, fluff it up gently with the rice paddle and serve.