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Fried Thai Pork Cake Recipe (Laab Moo Tod)

August 25, 2022 (Last Updated: September 19, 2022)
pork cake

This Thai pork cake recipe is a family favorite. It’s not your regular pork cake. These little fried nuggets of goodness are filled with onion, lemongrass, galangal and lime leaves.

They’re the perfect appetizer for parties, great on salad or with a side of Thai fried rice. The best thing? They take minutes to whip up, make them in advance or even freeze them for later. Learn how to make this Thai mince pork dish and some fun facts about:

Ready to get making these delicious pork cakes? Or as they’re known in Thailand, laab moo tod.

The Original Dish

pork cake

These Thai pork cakes are known as, ‘laab moo tod’. They’re based on a popular Thai salad dish called Laab or larb. It’s made from minced meat, herbs like sawtooth coriander, lemongrass, and mint, and flavored with fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and chillies. 

Laab is spicy, sour, sweet, bitter, and salty. It’s a punch of flavors that’ll take you on an adventure. ‘Moo’ is pork in Thai and ‘tod’ means fried. These pork cakes have the same flavors as the Thai stir fried pork mince salad but it’s fried.

And we all know (almost) everything is better fried. If you’re trying to be healthy, then skip the frying and steam everything instead. But before we get cooking, let’s have a look at some of the ingredients in one of our favorite pork mince Asian recipes.

Notes On Ingredients

pork cake

Thai pork dishes or any Thai dishes will have fish sauce and the holy trinity (Lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves). This pork cake recipe highlights these ingredients that can be found in any Thai pork recipes.

Aside from the fish sauce, 4 key ingredients in this recipe thai pork cake are:

  • Kaffir lime leaves
  • Galangal
  • Lemongrass
  • Sticky rice

Let’s take a dive into what makes these ingredients special and how they can easily be confused with regular grocery store items.

Kaffir Lime leaves

One of the main pork cake ingredients is kaffir lime leaves. Kaffir limes are not to be confused with key limes. They’re different in terms of taste and appearance. 

kaffir lime vs key lime

Kaffir lime is a type of citrus native to Southeast Asia. It has a thick bumpy rind that’s very bitter but the leaves are incredibly aromatic and used in Thai food often. Regular lime leaves aren’t good substitutes for kaffir lime leaves because they’re bitter and less aromatic.

If you can’t get kaffir lime leaves, use regular lime zest instead. The next ingredient in this pork cake is galangal.



It may look like ginger but it’s not the same thing. Galangal and ginger come from the same family just like oranges and lemons but they’re very different in flavor. Galangal is more floral, has citrus notes, and is very fragrant compared to ginger. It’s also known as Laos in Europe.

The next ingredient needs no introduction but let’s talk about how it’s prepared for this Thai pork cake recipe.


You can use ready made lemongrass paste but it won’t give you the same punch of flavor. I highly recommend using fresh lemongrass.

Here’s how to prepare fresh lemongrass:

pork cake

Remove the tops, ends, and first 2-3 outer layers from the stalks. These parts are fibrous and are not really edible. Once you’ve removed everything, cut your lemongrass into small pieces and pound or blend it into a paste to flavor the pork cake.

Sticky Rice Is Not Regular Rice

(Left) sticky rice (right) white rice

Toasted sticky rice gives this whole dish a nutty note and it’s important for crunchy pork cakes too. Glutinous aka sticky rice is not the same as rice white rice. Sticky rice is a type of rice that’s a different grain from regular rice. 

Speaking of sticky rice, the first thing we’re going to start with is toasting the sticky rice in the next section, “how to make Thai pork cake.”

How To Make Thai Pork Cake (Laab Moo Tod)

pork cake

There are 3 steps to make these Thai pork cake recipe:

  1. Prepare the sticky rice
  2. Chop, blend and mix
  3. Fry each pork cake

Prepare The Sticky Rice

To start making these little pork cakes, remove the stem from the middle of the kaffir lime leaves.

Add 5 lime leaves and the sticky rice to a dry pan. Keep it on a low heat and stir the mix regularly to avoid burning. After 5-7 minutes, it should be ready.

Set the rice and lime leaves aside to cool. Once cool, place in a mixer or pound until a coarse texture. 

Chop, Blend And Mix

Peel the lemongrass and chop the galangal into small pieces. Add the galangal and lemongrass into a blender or pound until a smooth paste. Chop the remaining lime leaves into bite sized pieces. Slice the onions thinly like so:

Add the ground pork, toasted rice powder, the galangal paste, lemongrass paste, chopped lime leaves, sliced onions, salt, and fish sauce in a large bowl. Mix everything together.

pork cake

Fry Each Pork Cakes

Heat up a pan and add enough oil to shallow fry the pork cakes. Grab a piece of pork cake the size of a golf ball and form small patties. They can be perfectly round or weird with pieces of onions sticking out.

Personally, I like the weird looking pork cakes because the pieces of onion or lime leaves get golden brown and crispy. Add the pork cake to the oil when the oil is hot enough. Cook each side for about 2-3 minutes. 

pork cake

Remove the pork cakes from the oil and set on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.

Repeat this step until all the pork cake mix is finished. Serve individual Thai pork cake as a snack, appetizer, on the side of Thai fried rice, wrapped in lettuce or on top of salad!

pork cake

Have you had this pork cake dish before? Or are there any other pork mince recipes Thai inspired that you’d like to see? Thailand is a huge country with such diverse food from every region. There are so many Thai pork mince recipes and Asian ground pork recipes that I’m still learning about even though I’m Thai and grew up in Southeast Asia.

What are your favorite pork mince recipes? Has this pork cake recipes for pork mince made it onto your favorites list? Try making some of our all-time favorite Asian dishes:

Fried Thai Pork Cakes (Laab Moo Tod)

Dinner, Lunch, Snack Thai
By Yummyble -Aisha Serves: 4 (makes 20-25 pork cakes)
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes

These delicious Thai pork cakes (laab moo tod) are packed with lemon grass and lime leaves. They're crispy and crunchy on the outside, perfectly juicy in the middle and filled with amazing Thai herbs.


  • 1 lbs ground pork (500g)
  • 3 lemongrass stalks (3 tbs lemon grass paste)
  • 1 thumb sized piece galangal (1 tbs galangal paste)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 3 tbs toasted glutinous/sticky rice
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves (reserve half for the pork cakes and the other 5 for the toasted rice)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • oil to shallow fry
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp chili flakes for a bit of heat



In a dry pan on low heat, add the sticky rice and 5 lime leaves. Toast the rice until golden brown for about 7 minutes. Occasionally stir everything to avoid burning the rice and lime leaves. Take it off the heat and set it aside to cool.


Add the cooled toasted rice and lime leaves into a blender and pulse until it forms a coarse texture. The rice pieces shouldn't be too large but it shouldn't be a fine powder either.


Add the lemon grass and galangal into a blender and mix until a smooth paste. You can also do this by hand with a mortar and pastel.


Slice the onions thinly and chop the remaining 5 lime leaves into bite sized pieces.


In a large bowl, add the ground pork, fish sauce, onions, lemon grass paste, galangal paste, lime leaves, toasted sticky rice powder, and salt. Mix everything together until fully incorporated.


Heat up enough oil in a large pan on medium.


Take about a gold ball sized amount of the pork cake mixture and form a patty.


Fry the pork cake patties for about 2 minutes on each side.


Remove the pork cakes from the oil and place on kitchen paper to drain excess oil.


Serve these pork cakes on their own as an appetizer, in a salad or next to some Thai fried rice!

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