Laab Tod (Deep Fried Spicy Isaan Laab Balls)

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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Deep Fried Spicy Laab Balls (Laab Tod) Laab Tod (Deep Fried Spicy Isaan Laab Balls)
Chef Kridsanai Nenthanun of Somtum Der in New York City puts a crispy spin on the beloved Isaan minced meat salad. Combined with the juicy minced meat, crispy surface enhances the toasted rice powder’s nuttiness.
Yield: makes 18
Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.
  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.
  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.