Laab Tod (Deep Fried Spicy Isaan Laab Balls)

  • Serves

    makes 18

  • Cook

    45 minutes

By Minnie Ongsricharoenporn

Published on March 18, 2019

Chef Kridsanai Nenthanun of Somtum Der in New York City puts a crispy spin on the beloved Isaan (northeastern Thai) minced meat salad. Combined with the juicy minced meat, the laab ball's crispy surface enhances the toasted rice powder's nuttiness.

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  • 2 tbsp. short grain rice
  • 14 oz. ground pork
  • 14 cup tempura powder
  • 13 cup minced cilantro
  • 3 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. fried garlic
  • 2 tbsp. ground chili
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves, minced
  • 1 bunch scallions, minced
  • 1 red onion (1⁄2 minced, 1⁄2 thinly sliced)
  • canola oil, for frying
  • lime wedges, for serving
  • roasted peanuts, for serving


Step 1

Heat a wok over medium-high. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until lightly golden and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Cool, then grind into a powder.

Step 2

In a medium bowl, mix the rice powder with the pork, tempura powder, cilantro, fish sauce, lemon juice, garlic, chili, kaffir lime leaves, scallions, and the minced red onion until evenly combined. Using wet hands, roll into 18 1-ounce balls. Refrigerate until ready to fry.

Step 3

Heat 2-inches canola oil in a 6-qt. saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. Working in batches, fry the larb until golden and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to cool slightly, then serve with red onion slices, lime wedges, and the peanuts.

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