Beef and lemongrass wrapped in betel leaf

Beef and lemongrass wrapped in betel leaf

The Food of Vietnam
Alan Benson

You will find betel leaves chargrilling on streets all throughout Vietnam, their sweet aroma luring you in. Vendors will serve these betel leaf rolls on bamboo skewers, on top of rice vermicelli noodles, wrapped in lettuce leaves, or simply in a crisp baguette. You can serve them any way you like. They are extremely easy to make.


Quantity Ingredient
400g minced beef
2 lemongrass stems, finely chopped, white part only
4 spring onions, finely chopped, white part only
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons ground white pepper
bunch betel leaves
200g rice vermicelli noodles, cooked according to packet instructions
1 tablespoon * nuoc mam cham dipping sauce [rid:8084]
1 teaspoon * fried red asian shallots [rid:8086]
1 teaspoon roasted peanuts, crushed
2 red chillies, sliced


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the beef, lemongrass, spring onion, garlic, salt and white pepper. Cover and allow the flavours to infuse for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, remove the stems from the individual betel leaves and wash in cold water. Lay the leaves flat on a cloth to dry.
  3. To form the rolls, lay a large betel leaf, shiny side down, on a board with the stem end of the leaf pointing towards you. Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon of the beef mixture onto the bottom edge of the leaf. Work the mixture into a sausage shape using your hands, then roll the leaf from bottom to top, folding in the sides to enclose the meat, and place the seam flat on your board to stop the leaf unrolling.
  4. Repeat this process until you have used all of the beef. The mixture should make about 20 rolls.
  5. Cook the parcels, seam side down, on a chargrill pan or barbecue hotplate over medium heat, for about 5 minutes, turning to colour all over, until cooked through.
  6. Arrange the cooked parcels over a bed of noodles. Drizzle with the nuoc mam cham, garnish with the fried shallots, peanuts and chilli and serve.
The Food of Vietnam
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