Larb (Pronounced as Lahp, the R is muted) is a minced meat salad made with fresh and flavourful ingredients such as mint, limes, lemongrass, ground meat and ground up toasted rice. Traditionally,Β larb is served with a side of sticky rice, this lemongrass pork meatballs recipe will show you 3 alternative ways to enjoy this!

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The classic way to make this it is to cook the pork as is so that it is crumbly but I decided to break tradition a bit and made this to a meatball. I find meatballs a bit more easier to eat, great to travel with and bite-sized little things are great for sharing! It’s a bit more work but well worth it, and if you have a traditionalist among your crowd they can always smush the meatball up and it’s crumbly again! Versatile πŸ™‚


Tidbit #1 : Larb is most commonly known as a Thai dish but it’s actually originates from Laos! πŸ™‚


Lemongrass Pork Meatballs (Larb Style) - 3 Ways


Let’s talk about flavours. What does larb taste like?

This is a VERYΒ flavourful dish. The most predominate flavours are from the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves followed by a bit of tang from the limes and the saltiness and umaminess from the fish sauce. Mint is a big part of this dish. I didn’t put mint into the actual pork meatballs itself because I find that cooking mint, mutes the flavours so it was served fresh on the side.




For this pork meatballs recipe, most ingredients can be found in your local grocery store.

Kaffir lime leaves, galangal and lemongrass may not be available at local grocery stores but can be found at an Asian grocery store.


Lemongrass Pork Meatballs (Larb Style) - 3 Ways


Although galangal looks similar to ginger, it actually does not have the same flavour so it cannot be substituted with ginger. Galangal has a clean, citrusy and piney flavour, whereas ginger is has a sharp, spicy, warm and peppery flavour. If you cannot find galangal, this can be omitted.




1.) Toast the Glutinous Rice & Grind it Up

On low heat, toast the rice in a frying pan for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. Once it looks nice and golden, wait for it to cool and grind it up in a mortar and pestle or food processor.

Lemongrass Pork Meatballs (Larb Style) - 3 Ways


2.) Blitz the Spices

If you are using fresh lemongrass, use only the thick stalk on the bottom and discard the upper half that looks dry. The flavour is at the bottom.

Remove the stem and spine from the kaffir lime leaves. This is a very waxy leaf and keeping the spine and stems make it harder to break down.

In a food processor, grind up: kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass (if not using pre-ground), garlic, shallots and galangal. (You can also chop these all by hand but make sure you finely chop it so you don’t get big chunks of any particular spice)


3.) Combine & Roll

Lemongrass Pork Meatballs (Larb Style) - 3 Ways

In a bowl, combine the pork, spices that were ground up, the ground up toasted rice powder, lime juice, sugar and fish sauce and mix.

Tip #1 : To taste if the pork meatballs have enough flavour or salt, put 1/2 tsp of meat mixture into a microwave safe bowl and heat it up to do taste tests!

You can mix this up by hand or with a stand mixer.

Once the mixture is well combined, roll them up into 1 inch meatballs. This will make between Β 30-40 meatballs.

Tip #2: If the meat is sticking to your hands, keep a small bowl of water by your side to lightly wet the palms of your hands before rolling.


4.) Cook it Up!

In a frying pan add 1/4-1/2 inch of oil and set the heat to medium and wait until the oil is hot or shimmering.

Add in the meatballs and fry them for 5 minutes or until golden brown.




Noodle Bowl

Lemongrass Pork Meatballs (Larb Style) - 3 Ways

Add some vermicelli (or rice) in a bowl, add some pork meatballs and top it with refreshing garnishes such as cucumbers, and mint and a wedge of lime for some extra zing. Top it with nuts for a bit of crunch!
Sauces: Sriracha, Nuoc Cham (A sweet, sour and salty dressing), thinned out hoisin sauce.

Lettuce Wrap

Lemongrass Pork Meatballs (Larb Style) - 3 Ways

For the lettuce wrap, you can use any type of lettuce. We found that green leaf lettuce (different from the iceberg lettuce and romaine lettuce) and boston lettuce were easiest to wrap with. Top it with vermicelli noodles, mint, bean sprouts, a squirt of lime, any type of additional fresh vegetables.
Sauces: Sriracha, thinned out hoisin sauce.


Lemongrass Pork Meatballs (Larb Style) - 3 Ways


The salad is one of the easiest ways to eat this dish. Use any type of greens and veggies and toss it with a light dressing such as noac cham. Toppings can also include fruits for a bit of sweetness (like mango) and some toasted nuts for a bit of crunch.

…and of course you can also enjoy this the traditional way – with a side of sticky rice and vegetables! πŸ˜‰



Lemongrass Pork Meatballs (Larb Style) - 3 Ways


Lemongrass Pork Meatballs (Larb Style) - 3 Ways

You should try these deep fried as well! They are delicious! πŸ™‚


Lemongrass Pork Meatballs (Larb Style) – 3 Ways

  • Author: Joyce | Pups with Chopsticks
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings
  • Category: Main, Side, Snack
  • Cuisine: Laotian


Flavourful lemongrass pork meatballs made with fresh mint, limes, lemon grass, ground meat & toasted rice with 3 ways to enjoy this flavourful dish!


  • 1 1/2 lbs ground pork
  • 1/4 cup glutinous rice
  • 10-15 kaffir lime leaves (stems and spines removed)
  • 2 cm galangal
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon lemongrass
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 lime (juiced)


Toast the Glutinous Rice

  1. In a frying pan, set the stove on low heat and toast the glutinous rice for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. (Keep the pan moving to prevent the rice from burning)
  2. Once the rice has been toasted, let it cool and grind it to a medium powder with a mortar and pestle or food processor and set it aside.

Grinding the Spices

  1. In a food processor, grind the: keffir lime leaves, galangal, lemongrass (if using whole stalks), garlic and shallots.

Rolling the Meatballs

  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, toasted glutinous rice powder and freshly ground spices together and combine it by hand or stand mixer.
  2. Roll the meat mixture into 1 inch meatballs.

Cooking the Meatballs

  1. In a pan, put 1/4 to 1/2 inch of oil on medium heat and wait for the oil to get hot and shimmery before adding in the meatballs to cook.
  2. Cook the meatballs for 5-7 minutes, until golden brown. Flipping them every 30 seconds to evenly cook it.

Serving it Up – 3 Ways

  1. As a Noodle Bowl – Boil some vermicelli noodles and add the noodles and meatballs into the bowl. Garnish it with mint, cucumbers, a wedge of lime for some zing. Top it with crushed nuts for a bit of crunch.
    Sauces: Sriracha, Nuoc Cham (A sweet, sour and salty dressing), thinned out hoisin sauce.
  2. As a Lettuce Wrap – As a wrap we found using Boston lettuce or green leaf lettuce (different from iceberg lettuce and romaine lettuce) the easiest to roll with. Top it with vermicelli, crushed nuts and bean sprouts.
    Sauces: Sriracha, thinned out hoisin sauce.
  3. As a Salad – Chop up any type of green lettuce and top it with chopped vermicelli, bean sprouts or any type of fresh vegetables and fruits (like mango!). Serve with crushed nuts for some crunch and a light vinaigrette dressing such as nuoc cham (sweet, sour and salty fish sauce dressing)


  • If you are using fresh stalks of lemongrass, use only the whites at the bottom and discard the dried top part of the stalk
  • Before grinding the keffir lime leaves, remove the stem and spine. They prevent the leaves from being ground up into small bits
  • Keep the pan moving when you’re toasting the glutinous rice to prevent it from burning
  • If the meat is sticking to your hands during the meatball rolling step, keep a small bowl of water around to keep your palms damp before rolling
  • Heat up 1/2 tsp of meat in the microwave to taste test if the meat mixture is salty or flavourful enough


  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 323 kcal
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Sodium: 1501 mg
  • Fat: 19 g
  • Carbohydrates: 32 g
  • Protein: 10 g

Keywords: pork meatballs, lemongrass meatballs

Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites, however I provide these links to make items easier to find if you cannot purchase this locally and I would never recommend anything I don’t own myself or highly recommend. I would prefer you buy your items locally if possible to support your local shops (and chances are they are cheaper locally as well!) πŸ™‚



27 thoughts on “Lemongrass Pork Meatballs (Larb Style) – 3 Ways”

  1. this sounds so good! i basically put fish sauce in everything (if it’s savory and bland, in goes fish sauce), and the toasted rice sounds like it’d be so fragrant. and if larb meatballs are tasty in lettuce wraps, then why not spring rolls, too?! spring rolls are hot weather, summer food for me so i’ll wait a bit on those, but dang i’m already dreaming of them.

    1. Damn! I think it’d taste amazing in spring rolls!! haha πŸ˜€ but yea I’m with you on that – fish sauce definitely has amazing flavour πŸ˜€ I’m almost substituting it for everything soy sauce related now as well!

    1. Thanks Alison! I LOVE noodles too! πŸ˜€ Noodles all the way haha! πŸ™‚ I get bored a lot with what I eat so I thought maybe a few ways to enjoy this on different days might be neat!

  2. This looks amazing! I love the wonderful flavours in larb! I love that you included 3 ways to eat with meatballs. I’m leaning towards the noodle bowl, but all 3 are great! Your instructions, tips, and pictures are always top-notch too! πŸ™‚

  3. This looks amazing! I love how you used three different examples of how to prepare it. Great tip on testing out a tiny bit of meat in the microwave to check it it is seasoned right, I will be doing that from now on! Now to decide how to eat them…they all look delicious! I know my kids would love the noodle bowl style.:)

    1. Thanks Riva! I use the microwave method a lot haha! Just to get the taste right, right? πŸ™‚

  4. What a flavour bomb! Between those pics and the recipe I’m drooling on my keyboard. I think I like the noodle bowl with nuoc cham idea the best although the lettuce wraps and salad look really good too. I’m also thinking making a burger patty and putting on baguette banh mi style would just be completely over the top. Maybe even too good. Awesome!

    1. Thanks Romain! πŸ˜€ I think a burger patty actually would be a FANTASTIC idea! Especially Banh Mi style! Love how there are so many ways to serve up food πŸ˜€

  5. I totally approve of your decision to turn larb into a meatball– genius! Thai food is my absolute favorite. I get takeout from my local Thai place at least once a week and it’s delicious, but can get a bit redundant. I’m always looking for new, fun ways to enjoy the classic dishes and this definitely fits the bill. I think I’ll actually serve it up all three ways because why not? I want them all! haha Thanks for sharing, Joyce!

    1. Thanks Alyssa! πŸ˜€ and you can save some money doing it at home too! πŸ™‚ always a good thing. I’m so glad to hear you would have fun with this though – food is all about fun and experimentation right? πŸ™‚

  6. Wow! All the different flavors in this recipe sound amazing. I really need to expand my horizons and this sounds like a perfect recipe to start with, thanks!

  7. I’m so glad that I stumbled upon your blog:) Stunning photography and flavorful recipes. I’m so in love with these meatballs right now and want to gobble up the whole thing. I’ve never been lucky enough to find lime leaves in the Chinese grocery stores though!

    1. Welcome! I am so glad you’re here Maria! πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for your kind words πŸ™‚ Meatballs are such an easy and versatile food right? haha I gobble them up as well as I pull them out of the frying pan haha πŸ™‚ I think lime leaves are a hit and miss depending on where you live. If you absolutely must must buy it, you can find them online dried but honestly you can omit them as well. They have a unique flavour that you can’t really substitute for – maaaaaaaybe a little bit of lime zest could somewhat pull it off but I think the lemongrass has so much flavour alone that it’s okay to omit the lime leaves!! πŸ˜€

  8. Everything about these looks so delicious. I’m a sucker for a noodle bowl, but those lettuce wraps look pretty tempting too!

    1. It’s definitely fun to switch that up a bit, when I’m feeling bored I definitely do the lettuce wrap! Makes things a bit more interactive!

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