Kaffir lime meat balls

The original Thai recipe (Tod man moo) doesn’t usually include kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass, but they give these fried meat balls a very refreshing taste.

You can substitute the pork with beef or chicken. The amount of aromatic oil in this recipe is quite high because the frying process makes the heat evaporate some of the aroma. In order to keep as much aroma as possible, the balls are round shaped, not flat. It’s always best to fry one patty, taste it and add more oil if needed. If you are adding oil to the mixture, make sure to mix it with a bit of water (1 teaspoon is enough) before mixing it with the meat.

Pork balls. Frying requires a larger amount of essential oil
Pork balls. Frying requires a larger amount of essential oil

Ingredients (for 10-12 cakes):

  • 300 gr ground pork/chicken/beef
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4-5 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced lemon grass stalks (only the white part)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon light Thai soy sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 20 drops kaffir lime oil 5%
  • Oil for deep frying


Grind the garlic and lemon grass into a fine paste, using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.

Mix all ingredients except the egg and kaffir lime oil, and set aside for 5-10 minutes.

Mix the egg and the kaffir lime oil, add them to the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Wet your palms, and form the mixture into round shaped balls. Don’t make them too flat, because the kaffir lime aroma might evaporate as a result of the heat of the frying oil.

In a large frying pan, heat the frying oil and fry the meat balls on medium heat until both sides are brown and crispy.

Drain and serve.

For baking, heat an oven to 200 C.

Spread a thin layer of vegetable oil in a baking pan and brush the meat balls with a little bit of vegetable oil.

Bake until golden-brown (15-20 minutes).


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