I know I introduced you to the wonderful spicy Thai dish Moo Laab just last week, but there are other things that can be done with laab that make it even more delicious (in my opinion – and depending on what you’re hungry for. In this case we are going to take the laab moo, which is already an amazing dish, and roll it up into small balls and deep fry it. Yeah baby! Who doesn’t like fried things? I know I sure do, and the crispy edges that develop on the laab balls as you fry then adds a wonderful crunch component to the dish.
- 1 pound pork shoulder, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped spring onions
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped coriander
- ½ tablespoon coarsely chopped mint leaves
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons finely sliced shallots
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon grounded roasted rice
- 1 handful Holy Basil Leave, washed and drained
- ½ tablespoon chili powder
- 1-2 Young fresh cucumbers
- ¼ cabbage
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Start by mixing these ingredients into a mixing bowl; pork, spring onions, coriander, mint, shallots, lemon juice, fish sauce, roasted grounded rice, chili power (add more or less depending on your taste). Mix well.
- Add flour, mix all ingredients together again and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
- While waiting for the pork to rest. Heat the frying oil in a wok over high heat. Once the oil is hot - fry the holy basil until they turn crisp (only take about 2 minutes). Then scoop them out to rest on a paper towel.
- Now roll the mixed pork into a small meatballs approximately 2 inches in diameter.
- Place your wok over medium-high heat and heat oil to 375 degrees. Fry pork balls in hot oil. During frying try to turn the balls around in hot oil to make sure the pork is cooked thoroughly. Scoop them out once they turn golden brown, and drain.
- Place fried holy basil on the plate. Lay the cooked pork on top of fried holy basil (like egg in the nest). Serve with fresh cucumber, cabbage and sticky rice.
The laab is served with cucumber, cabbage leaves and other fresh greens and herbs which all help to cut the heat of the laab moo tod. In fact, you can just put a ball inside a cabbage leaf, roll it up and eat it like that. The fresh crunch of the cabbage and the crunch of the exterior of the meatball really contrast well with the soft interior, and the coolness of the cabbage helps to balance out the heat of the laab. It is one of those perfect regional pairings that just can’t be improved upon.
You really have to give these a try, they are small bites of heaven, especially for those who like their food spicy. And even though the cabbage/laab combination can’t be improved upon (by my own admission), I’ve begun to think maybe I CAN improve on these by adding an aioli type dipping sauce. I haven’t finalized a recipe for the dipping sauce yet, but I’ll update you all when I have something that I’m happy with, and more importantly that Golf and her friends are happy with. It never hurts to test your Thai food creations with those who know best. Until then make some of these and let me know what you think. The fact that they are small bites and can be wrapped in cabbage leaves also makes them perfect finger food for parties along with some Thai style spring rolls