Bò lá lốt : Grilled Beef Wrapped in Betel Leaf

Đồ ăn nhậu is Vietnamese for ‘drinking food’ or snacks/appetizers. Think of this like tasty small plates to share and enjoy all the flavors. Thịt bò nướng lá lốt or bò lá lốt is one of my favorites but there are variations of flavors. The basis is beef (thịt bò), variations of spices, fish sauce (nước mấm) and wrapped in betel leaf (lá lốt) which is then grilled (nướng). Eating good food is key to cooking good food, so I have been looking for the right flavor profile. Kitchen research revealed I love the bò lá lốt with lemongrass.

The following recipe is easy to scale but you ultimately control the number of individual rolls based on how much meat you put in each leaf. For parties or as main dish, I would suggest make several small batches as it gets harder to mix the seasonings evenly.  To make in advance it is best to prep and roll and then refrigerate. They freeze ok but better fresh – the leaf can get weird. To cook I prefer to place on foil lined pan and put under the broiler. You can certainly grill but would want to skewer the rolls so they don’t fall through the grill.

Bò lá lốt : Grilled Beef Wrapped in Betel Leaf

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground beef (not too lean though)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork (or all beef, 1 pound, not too lean)
  • rounded ¼ cup finely sliced or minced green/spring onions
  • 2 heaped tablespoons minced lemongrass (buy it frozen already minced)
  • 2 teaspoons curry (Like many, I love madras Sun brand)
  • 2 teaspoons concentrated fish sauce, I like the Three crab brand (note some are saltier than others, might need to add salt)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, fresh cracked or not
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch or flour (holds meat mixture together)
  • Betel/la lot leaves with the stems, at least two dozen leaves, bigger is easier and get extra regardless

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Instructions

  • Mix together all the seasonings in a separate bowl.

    img_2897
    Three batches!
  • Put ground meat in a large  mixing bowl.
  • I wear gloves and then mix the seasonings in really well. Without gloves your hands will be stained from curry and smell from the oyster and fish sauce et al.
  • Once meat mixture is all combined. It is time to start rolling. Get your leaves ready to roll, leaving the stem long.img_2890
  • Scoop up a generous spoonful of meat and place about 1/3 way down from top part of leaf.
  • Role from the top down, tucking in the extra along sides or trimming off.img_2902
  • Make a little slit into the leave and thread the stem through pinning leaf roll. For some of the leaves you might need to trim the stem so it isn’t super long.
  • You can also use toothpicks but they hurt when you bite into them.img_2896
  • for big batches, I stack them in a baking pan until ready to cook.img_2901
  • Right before cooking lightly cover/brush the leafs roll with oil so that it doesn’t burn up under the broiler.
  • Broil 5-8 minutes until done.  Depends on how big the rolls are. You control the size. 🙂
  • To eat: you can wrap them in lettuce, eat in a bowl with rice noodles etc. For sure dip in nước mắm. Here is my recipe.

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Some of my other Vietnamese recipes

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