Laab Stuffing Balls

This is the recipe which kickstarted the whole non-traditional Christmas Menu. Sage & onion stuffing is oh so traditional, fruity ones have been done… I wanted something else. Cue the laab!

Jump to Recipe

Stuffing has to be flavourful. There’s nothing worse than a dried out, bland, sad, burned slab of pork. This recipe has flavour in droves and is so versatile; you can ball it, stuff it or serve it in a single slab in a tray, whichever way it comes. Oooh…laab Scotch egg?!

Tips and Tricks

The rice works twofold here: not only does it not soak up as much moisture as breadcrumbs, leaving you with moister balls (sorry, not sorry), but it gives a great crisp texture! As a bonus, it is a naturally gluten-free product so if you switch out the soy listed for a GF alternative, you don’t have to buy an expensive bread on top of everything else!

Laab Stuffing Balls

This simple side dish comes with a delicious marriage of two classics: stuffing and laab, a beautiful dish from Laos, mixing succulent mince with zingy fresh Thai basil. Another winning feature? The recipe is gluten-free with one simple switch!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Christmas Food, Christmas Menu, Dinner, Family Meal, Leftovers, Lunch, Main Course, Sharing, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Asian, British
Keyword: Christmas, Christmas Sides, Laab, Laos, Mince, Pork, Stuffing


  • Small baking tray
  • Pestle & mortar / rolling pin


  • 300 g Pork mince
  • 1 tbsp Brown rice
  • 1 tsp Dark soy sauce Substitute: coconut aminos/tamari
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Thai basil Substitute: Italian basil; cilantro
  • Coarse salt & pepper
  • Vegetable oil


Christmas Eve / Day Before your Cook

  • If you have time, prepare the stuffing mix the day before. If you can also ball them up, great!
  • Puff the rice in a dry frying pan, cool and crush into ‘breadcrumb’ texture.
  • Finely chiffonade the Thai basil.
  • Add the pork, basil, soy, salt and pepper into a mixing bowl and, starting with 1 tsp, add in the puffed rice crumb.
  • Incorporate with a fork, taking care not to beat up the mixture too much! Set aside to allow the flavour to infuse.

Christmas Morning / Day of your Cook

  • Ball approximately 1 tbsp of mix, rolling and pressing gently between two flat hands – again, make sure not to squish them into oblivion!
  • Add a little oil to a frying pan and over medium heat, lightly brown the outside of the stuffing balls, set aside on some kitchen towel to remove any excess oil.

To Cook

  • Preheat oven to180C/360F fan / 200C/390F / Gas Mark 6.
  • If cooking with a roasting meat, add them to the same roasting tray/rack; otherwise line a small baking tray with foil, add a light covering of vegetable oil, and place the balls in the tray.
  • Cook for 40 minutes, turning occasionally to keep the surface crisp.
  • Serve dotted around your bird for fun or heap onto a little plate; go nuts with a little extra fresh basil if you have more to hand.
  • Psst: these taste absolutely wonderful cold too…!



Of course this stuffing works beautifully as a classic stuffing too, cooked inside a bird. Or if you prefer to cook in a baking tray as one solid dish, simply dimple the top with a fork and add a few extra rice ‘breadcrumbs’ to the surface.

We would love to hear what you think of our dish.

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Author: thedbkitchen

Niche-free recipes, created out of a pure love of food, by home cook Carmel de Bedin (that’s me!). Genuine, accessible dishes tried and taste-tested by a couple of food nerds who truly love a good meal.

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