Thai meatballs with rice noodle salad: A light dish bursting with flavour

Lilly Higgins: These meatballs are total flavour bombs – and the kids love them too

Delicious: Thai meatballs with rice noodle salad

Recently, over dinner, we were all discussing what our favourite food was. If you could only eat one type of cuisine for the rest of your life what would it be? We’re really spoiled for choice. My middle son immediately thought of Italy. He looks forward to his Friday pizza all week and loves all sorts of pasta dishes. I adore Middle Eastern food, but at this time of year, I tend to veer towards Thai and Vietnamese dishes.

It’s the herbs for me. Mint, basil and coriander all sing in harmony on the palate. The very fine balance of sweet, salty and sour is so addictive. I love prik nam pla, a sauce made with lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, chilli and garlic. It’s incredible as a dipping sauce for meatballs, barbecued chicken or fried food as well as being great as a salad dressing.

I wanted to make a dish to show these amazing qualities to my kids. I rustled up these meatballs to show them exactly what I’m talking about. To my amazement, they loved them as much as I do. The meatballs are total flavour bombs with all sorts of tastes vying for your attention once you pop one in your mouth. These are now being made every week, served in rice bowls, skewered on bamboo sticks or just popped into their lunchboxes.

If you can’t find pork mince, turkey or chicken mince is also good at absorbing all of these flavours. I’ve added a little toasted sesame oil to the basic dipping sauce here to create a dressing. If you don’t have sesame oil then pour in a little of the sesame oil from the top of a jar of tahini if you have it: it’ll lend that toasted nutty flavour.


This time of year my herb bed is springing back to life. The lemon balm is bursting forth along with all sorts of mint, chives and thyme. This dish makes use of those lovely fresh, bright flavours. Herbs do so well in pots too, so if you don’t have access to a garden why not plant up a few pots. They’re so handy to have and bring so much to a dish.

Recipe: Thai meatballs with rice noodle salad