If you are fan of Thai Laab (minced meat salad), then you will love this crispy fried version. The soul of this dish is the toasted sticky rice. It gives the pork that crunchy texture and roasted fragrance. Your laab wouldn’t be the same without it. Toasted sticky rice is incredibly easy to make and so worth it. Of course, you could get ready-to-use sticky rice powder at Thai supermarkets too.
The flavor profile of Crispy Thai Laab Meatballs is a mix of tangy, spicy and slightly salty note. The advantage of making your own Laab is, you are able to tweak the flavor to your taste liking. I love my Laab to be on the tangy side so expect a generous amount of lime juice in this recipe.
5 tbsp Thai sticky rice or glutinous rice, uncooked
2 kaffir lime leaves, torn into chunks, stem removed
1 lb (450 g) minced pork (preferably not lean)
1 tbsp minced galangal (blue ginger)
3 tbsp minced lemongrass
½ cup chopped coriander (with stems)
¼ cup small diced shallots
½ tsp Chili flakes, to taste
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp sugar
Canola oil for frying
Makes about 20 mini meatballs
Recipe source: Hot Thai Kitchen
In a large pan, add in the sticky rice and kaffir lime leaves and toast on a medium heat, moving the rice around until golden brown.
It should take about 15 mins. Remove and let it cool slightly before grinding them into powder. I like to use a mortar and pestle. Alternatively, you could use a food processor or blender.
In a large bowl, add in the pork together with all the remaining ingredients and sticky rice powder (except the oil) and mix well. Feel free to use your hands.
Form loosely into 1-inch balls (or smaller if you like) so the edges will crisp up. Do not roll the balls too tightly or they will not be crispy.
Tip: To know if your meatballs’ seasoning is just right, before forming into balls, you could take a small piece and cook it in the microwave or frying pan and taste. That way, you could adjust the seasoning if necessary before frying the rest.
Deep fry in a pot of hot oil (180°C/350°F) for about 5 mins or until golden brown.
Skim off any floating bits from the oil.
Drain and serve with Thai sweet chili sauce.