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
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
Mix together all the seasonings in a separate bowl.
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.
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.
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.
for big batches, I stack them in a baking pan until ready to cook.
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.
Based on a Dods MacFarlane’s Mussels in Bag recipe in my copy of Sue Lawrence’s Scots Cooking book. I blog a lot about my Chinese/Vietnamese/Asian life but I am actually (surprise surprise) Scottish. I can’t say the Scots are world renowned per se for their vast cuisine but I am looking to add more of it my cooking routine as a way to keep my grandparents and heritage nearer to my heart (by that I mean, in my tummy). As I read my way through James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small series, I am also collecting recipe ideas. At this rate, 2014 will showcase more Scottish items and more recipes that were my Grandmas, like her bonbons (the bomb-bomb)!
This method was unbelievably easy and produced at least one pot fewer than how I normally prepare shellfish. Here is my usual peasy squeesy way, using clams and mussels interchangeably. We have an indoor grill as part of our stove top that worked splendidly. I sliced the ginger in big chunks this first time around but I think will mince or chop better going forward so it mixes better. The flavor still definitely was infused. For future versions, I want to try finishing with a cold smoke, adding some bacon, maybe lemongrass, curry and coconut milk or sprigs of rosemary…
Apologies for the not stellar indoor and tin foil pictures….. it’s tough blogging in the Pacific Northwest in the winter….
Grill Steamed Mussels
Ingredients – nothing is very exact with this so don’t stress out….
2 lbs live mussels, scrubbed and “debearded” [note: 2 lbs made for enough for two full entrées, so you could serve 4-5 as appetizers); clams would work too
A little olive oil, about 2 tablespoons
3-4 green onions/scallions or white onions or scallions, ½ to 1 cup
1 inch fresh ginger sliced or chopped, about 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons minced garlic
½ cup white wine or beer or chicken broth, might need some more if making multiple pouches
Lemon wedge for squeezing on at the end, but not necessary
Heat up your grill. Prepare the foil for making the foil pouches. Cut about a 16 x 12 inch rectangle for each pound of mussels. We made two for two entrees but if making smaller portions just make more pouches. You just divide up all the ingredients equally between the pouches
In each foil piece, turn up the edges so liquid doesn’t run out while preparing. Coat the bottom with olive oil. I think you could use butter too. Add in the ginger, onion, garlic. Then add the mussels and pour on the beer or wine.
Fold up the edges and crimp the side and top well so that liquid doesn’t leak out.
Place on grill near the hottest part and cook for 10 minutes until the mussels open. We covered our with a wok lid since we were indoors, and had the exhaust fan going, but if outside, you wouldn’t need to do this.
When cooked, carefully move to bowls for serving. Be careful when opening to avoid getting burned by steam.
Serve with crusty bread for dipping. The mussels release juices into the mix, making for a great sauce for slurping. We ended up dumping out our pouches into bowls to mix the ingredients around.
So who is Dods Macfarlane? No idea but the cookbook shared his story about gugas, for which we have substituted mussels….
Nothing pairs better with summer and grilled meat, especially pork, than fruit. For this summer salad, we grilled up nectarines and plums, but you can do pineapples, peaches, mangos, apricots etc. Produce aisle is the limit. Pickled fennel is easy to make and stores up nicely. Pickled anything with charred meat is a hit in my mouth.
Grilled Nectarine, Plum Salad with Pickled Fennel, Cojita and Pepitas
Cut up the peas into one inch chunks, chop basil into threads and pickled fennel (I did cut into about 2 in strips) and add to greens. Drizzle with a good olive oil and toss it around. Plate as desired. Slice fruit in half, remove pits and grill flesh side down until charred. Slice and place on top of prepped greens. Sprinkle crumbled cojita, pepitas and salt and pepper as needed. Reduced balsamic would tasty too!
What grilling success stories do you have?
The entire fruit is already present in the seed. Tertullian
I like to think of clever phrases or parallels for my blogs. This time I kept thinking of “Romancing the Meat”, playing off of Romancing the Stone…. Until I googled what its origins looking for facts… hmm, not going to work this time according to Urban Dictionary….
So, in other news today, here is a quick and delectable recipe for Korean Kalbi (gal-bi) BBQ short ribs. If you have never experienced Korean BBQ, you haven’t yet lived. Personal favorites are spicy pork and of course, short ribs. Paired with Kim Chi, it’s a palate pleaser, and no one should be frightened by the reference a foreign country. Today I share with you our simple approach, including hacks, to make these short ribs at home for a perfect backyard get together.
Kalbi Korean BBQ Short Ribs
Soak in Coke. Soaking the ribs in cola helps to soften the meat, sweeten and remove the blood. Do not think that cream soda would work just fine (yes, speaking from experience) and I wouldn’t recommend diet cola because of the fake sugar and after taste. I know some people swear by 7-Up or Asian pear juice. We soak and then drain before adding marinade, but it could be incorporated it into the marination phase, although you would need much less liquid I think.
Coke did not sponsor this post! So no shameless intentional adverting…. It just rhymes with soak better than Pepsi…
BBQ sauce from a jar. I haven’t yet made it from scratch, because it is really all about convenience for us with this meal. But of course, now I am feeling lame for even suggesting and will have to attempt (did you know I am a tad competitive?). Stay tuned.
Ingredients are basically: soy sauce , rice wine/mirin, brown sugar, sesame oil and garlic (see, no excuse)
Korean ribs are a different cut than American, also called flanken. They are thin sliced and cook up fast. But by them at an Asian grocery store so you don’t get ripped off (if you have access to one)
Great for freezing and cooking in a jiffy. Stock up!
Lots of napkins!
No real prep needed. Defrost ribs if required. Ours were fresh and weighed in at 4 pounds for each pack. If you are going to freeze them, “unit dose” it into smaller portions more suitable for your family size.
Place ribs in a big bowl and pour in the cola. We used a full 2 liters for all 8 pounds but often a couple cans is enough. I think this is something that you really just make work with what you have. Just not cream soda….
Cover and soak for a while. No clear time but maybe 30 minutes or so. It will get nice and frothy.
Pour off the cola and then dump in the marinade. Again, we used a full bottle because of quantity and didn’t want left overs.
Massage it in and let it sit for a few hours to over night or freeze for future use. You can also toss in thick sliced onion rings and grill those later too.
When ready to eat just fire up the grill and go.
If you have a Korean grocery store near you, see if they have a pre-marinated meat section. We love our local H-Mart’s marinated meat bar. By the pound, you can buy tasty spicy pork, flavorful chicken, bulgogi beef and sometimes Kalbi. Makes for such an easy dinner and perfect vehicles for eating kim chi.
Ingredients to makes about 10 chapatis (or is it chapat-eye?)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
¾ cup warm water or as needed
Mix together the flours and salt in a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon (I don’t know why) to stir in the olive oil and enough water to make a soft elastic dough but not a sticky one (aka add water bit by bit)
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is smooth – just a couple minutes. I found I needed to wet my hands a bit as the dough was a bit dry for me ( I made a half batch). Divide into 10 chunks, or however many chapatis you want to end up with (bigger=fewer, smaller=more). Roll each piece into a ball with your hands and let rest for a few minutes.
Heat a skillet over medium heat until hot, and grease lightly with a little extra oil (olive or otherwise).
On a lightly floured surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll out the balls of dough until very thin like a tortilla. When the pan starts smoking, put a chapati on it. Cook until the underside has brown spots, about 30 seconds, then flip and cook on the other side. Thickness of chapatti various from region to region, so play around with it to see what you like best.
I plan to try cooking on the grill next time- could be awesome or smoky disaster. This time I made just a half batch the first time and rolled them into smaller balls. They turned out pretty yummy – not round though, more Antarctica or Greenland shaped. Might be a great way to lean the countries and entertain guests or sneakily conduct a Rorschach inkblot test (sly psychiatry). Being smaller they were easy to move from the counter to the pan. Big ones might get a big floppy. Other modifications for next time – incorporate herbs or spices to dough (not too much though), adding butter or ghee to top etc. I might also use this as a reason to by a tortilla press….
The rest of the dinner was pretty simple. Costco chicken korma popped in the oven and grilled sweet peppers with yogurt dipping sauce. For the yogurt, I mixed in a dash of salt and some Parnami family masala, but you could do just about any combinations to make a quick pseudo-raita: cilantro/garlic, chutney, curry, cardamom… Total time was just about 30 minutes from starting to heat oven up, hatching the plan to make chapatti from scratch till plated and photographed.
Chapati, also referred to as roti (which technically are made with only all purpose flour), is found in many countries under different names/variations (India to Africa to Southeast Asia to China (laobing) to Pakistan(doday)) . It is an unleavened bread that makes for one tasty utensil.
Goan Proverb: Fry the chapatti, while the pan is hot!
Recently I attended the ACT Theater production of Grey Gardens with my dear friend, ASB. We have been attending the theater together for almost 8 years now (whoa!) and always aim to watch some classic Broadway, some new releases and a few more obscure. This year, obscure was Grey Gardens. It was a nice production, in a theater in the round, with a minimal stage and talented actors. I am not going to review the play much further but will probably try to catch the documentary on the real Grey Gardens (hint: Jackie O and JFK) to compare and contrast. It is not the story so much that stayed with me, but one song and a particular line. The song – “Jerry Likes My Corn”
[Edith to Jerry, excerpt]
I boil it on the hot plate
Till all the juice is gone
Bless his soul
He knows which side my corn is buttered on …
Everyone deserves someone who knows how to butter your corn! IMHO
The line: “eat the cake you have”. Not to say we should not strive and dream but reminds us all to slow down and enjoy the now, current life we have too. This is something that I always benefit from hearing, as it is so easy to get wrapped up in tomorrow, next week or even the dreaded…. Yesterday…..
With this musing, I now leave you with inspired creations. I also needed a reason after all to blog about a corn song.
Grilled Corn on the Cob with basil garlic butter
Heat grill to medium, too hot, it will burn and flame.
Peel back the husks, but don’t remove them, just enough to remove all the silk
Put the husks back in place and soak the cobs for 20-30 minutes.
Once ready put on the grill about 10 minutes per side.
Keep a spray bottle of water of handy if it is burning to quick or flaming
Let the cooked cobs cool for a second or where an ovenmit before husking before serving. It will be hot!
Basil Garlic Butter
Soften 4 T butter, unsalted or salted (just know which)
Add chopped basil, either fresh or freeze dried, about 1 T [I think cilantro would be delightful too]
Add about 1sp minced garlic
Mix, taste and add salt if needed
I am storing the rest in the fridge for other delights (pasta? Bread?)
Enjoy! We made a simple grilled dinner with chicken sausage, duck egg, grilled zucchini, grilled pepper and grilled corn on the cob. And grilled pineapple with coconut ice cream for dessert!
Mexican Wedding Cakes – a favorite of my theater buddy ASB, from the tried and true Joy of Cooking. Granted not a true “cake” but still supports the theme and there is almost a wedding in Grey Gardens. Here is my favorite recipe.