Laab moo is a classic Isaan-style salad made with minced pork. It’s a simple dish, but one which packs in the flavour with ingredients including chillies, fish sauce, lime juice and lemongrass. In this recipe, the laab moo is made into crispy meatballs known in Thai as ‘laab moo tod’. Ideal to serve as an appetiser if you’re preparing a Thai meal for family or friends, these meatballs are quick and easy to make.
We’ve used ‘laab’ for our transliteration, but you may also see it written as laap, larb or larp.
This recipe for laab moo tod is from Khun Pailin at Hot Thai Kitchen. We’ve also included her video instructions so you can follow along and see how the end result should look. This method uses a frying pan, but these laab moo meatballs will be just as tasty made in an air-fryer.
- 1 lb ground pork (preferably not lean)
- 3 Tbsp Thai sticky rice or jasmine rice (uncooked)
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp minced galangal
- 3 Tbsp minced lemongrass
- 3 Tbsp lime juice
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2 kaffir lime leaves (stem removed and torn into chunks)
- ¼ cup chopped coriander (with stems)
- ¼ cup chopped sawtooth coriander (or use more coriander if no sawtooth variety available)
- ¼ cup small diced shallots
- ½ tsp chilli flakes (to taste)
- Vegetable/sunflower oil oil for frying
- Dried chillies to garnish (optional)
- Butter lettuce (Bibb/Boston lettuce) and mint for serving
- Using a dry pan, toast the sticky rice and kaffir lime leaves over medium/high heat. Stir constantly until the rice is a deep, golden-brown and the lime leaves are crisp.
- Allow to cool slightly. Using a pestle and mortar, grind the rice and the lime leaves until fine.
- Combine the pork, flour, toasted rice powder, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, coriander, sawtooth coriander, lime juice, fish sauce and chilli flakes. Mix well.
(Pro tip: If you want to taste the mix for seasoning, you can cook up a small amount in the microwave or in a frying pan.)
- Form loosely into 1.5-inch balls and fry in 350°F oil until browned.
- Serve meatballs on their own or make a wrap with a piece of lettuce and mint.
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