RECIPE TITLE "Beef Wrapped in Pepper Leaves (bo nuong la lot)"
Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table: Recipes and Reminiscences from Vietnam's Best Market Kitchens, Street Cafes, and Home Cooks
Serves 4 as an appetizer ---
La lot (pepper leaf) is used extensively in Vitetnam, as an aromatic
leaf in stir-fries and soups and as a wrapper. A member of the wild
betel family, it has shiny, dark green heart-shaped leaves. In the
United States, these leaves have been showing up more frequently
at Asian markets. If you can't find them, substitute red perilla
or shiso or grape leaves.
This dish is part of bo bay mon (Beef in Seven Ways), a popular
special meal, featuring multiple beef courses. To enjoy this dish,
serve it as an appetizer or as a topping for Rice Noodles with Fresh
These rolls are typically grilled over hot coals. However, I prefer
to cook them in a pan because the la lot leaves available in the
United States are too mature and burn more easily when cooked on
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 yellow onion, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass
3 tablespoons chopped Roasted Peanuts
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound coarsely ground beef
30 large la lot (pepper leaves) or red perilla or grape leaves
4 (6- or 8-inch) bamboo skewers
Table Salad for serving
Vietnamese Dipping Sauce for serving
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a pan over moderate heat. Add
the garlic and onion and stir until softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer
to a bowl. Add the lemongrass, peanuts, turmeric, sugar, fish sauce,
salt and ground beef. Mix with a fork until well blended and sticky,
about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside for 30 minutes.
2. To make the rolls, place 1 heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture
in the center of a pepper leaf. Using your fingers, shape the meat
into a cylinder about 2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide. Wrap the leaf
around the meat but leave the sides open. (If necessary, use 2 leaves.)
When done, place the roll seam side down. Make the remaining rolls
in the same way.
3. Thread 5 rolls onto each bamboo skewer, positioning the rolls so
they touch one another at the seams. Set aside until ready to cook.
4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick frying
pan over low heat. (Make sure the pan is large enough to accommodate
the skewers. If not, shorten the skewers.) Add the beef rolls and
cook until the meat is done, about 5 to 7 minutes total. Do not overcrowd
the pan. Reduce the heat as necessary to keep the leaves from charring.
5. Transfer the skewers to a platter. Remove the skewers and serve
the rolls with Table Salad and Vietnamese Dipping Sauce.
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