Thai-Style Meatballs


Walking through the streets of Bangkok, one is pleasantly overwhelmed by the exotic fragrances and mouth-watering aromas characteristic of Thai cooking. They emanate from the many small restaurants and street-stall kitchens that line the thoroughfare.

Street vendors sell an assortment of fish cakes, snacks and meatballs, and I first tasted this dish at such a stall. What makes the meatballs so good is the spices blending so nicely into the succulent beef and pork. The egg whites give the meatballs a delicate, light texture.

The meatballs are very easy to prepare and they are excellent party snacks with drinks.


  • 100 g (4 oz) minced beef
  • 100 g (4 oz) minced pork
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons very cold water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions
  • 2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Plain flour, for dusting
  • 400 ml (15 fl oz) groundnut oil


Mix the beef and pork in a food processor for a few seconds. Slowly add the egg whites and cold water and mix them for a few more seconds until they are fully incorporated into the meat. Then add the rest of the ingredients except the flour and oil and mix for about a minute until the meat mixture has become a light paste.

Using your hands, form the mixture into 4-cm (1½-in) balls, about the size of a golf ball. (This recipe makes about 10 balls.) Dust them evenly with the flour, shaking off any excess. The meatballs will be quite fragile and soft.

Heat a wok or large frying-pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, gently drop in as many meatballs as will fit easily in one layer. Carefully fry them for about 4 minutes until the meatballs are crispy and browned. Adjust the heat as necessary. Take the meatballs out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. (You may have to do this in several batches.) Serve them at once.