Vietnamese Grilled Beef Wrapped in Grape Leaves – Bo la lot
One of my favorites, this recipe in only discovered recently. It is marinated ground beef (and sometimes pork) wrapped in grape leaves and charbroiled. My favorite part of this recipe is that the leaves are charred; it adds a certain flavor and texture that cannot be replicated. So if you can get to a charcoal grill for this one, I think it would make a he difference on your end product.
Ingredients for Filling:
1 lb ground beef (this can be replaced with half beef and half pork or chicken)
1 shallot (minced)
1-2 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh lemongrass
2 tsp fish sauce
1-2 tsp curry powder
½ tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper
24-36 betel leaves or grape leaves (you can find them fresh or frozen. Just make sure to thaw completely and dry before rolling)
Skewers (soak in water for about 20-30 min before using)
Ingredients for Dipping Sauce:
¼ cup nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce)
¼ cup sugar
Lime juice (to taste)
Hot sauce or hot peppers (finely chopped, to taste – optional)
Julienned carrots (optional – but does make it a bit nicer for presentation)
Roasted peanuts roughly chopped
Green onion (chopped)
You could probably replace the beef with ½ lb of soy ground beef product and ½ lb silken tofu.
Large mixing bowl
Grill or grill pan or baking sheet
Small bowl for dipping sauce
Mince the shallots, garlic, and lemon grass.
Tip: a trick for getting the lemongrass to cut more easily is to freeze it and sort of shave of the small pieces with your chef’s knife.
Combine all of the filling ingredients except for the oil and betel/grape leaves. Mix well. Let the meat mixture rest in the fridge while you prepare the leaves for rolling.
Wash and dry all of the leaves. Lay out the leaves in a stack with the shiny side face down. Preparing these ahead of time will make it much easier when it comes to rolling the beef wraps.
When rolling the leaves, there are 2 ways that I have seen it done. One way, the beef is coming out of the edge of the wrap slightly. The other way, the grape leave is rolled like and egg roll. I prefer to roll the wrap like egg rolls so I don’t lose any of my precious marinated beef. Roll around 2 tablespoons of beef in each leaf in the shape of an egg roll or slender sausage. Once you have rolled all of your mixture, skewer the wrapped beef with 1 or 2 skewers (depending on the length of your wrap) for grilling/broiling.
If you’re grilling, pop the skewers on the grill for about 5 minutes on each side, until the leaves are slightly charred. If you are broiling do the same, but watch more closely if you have not used your broiler before so you don’t end up with blackened grape leaves.
Make some dipping sauce, plate it up and enjoy!
For Lemongrass Stalks: Since I don’t get to the Asian market that often and lemongrass usually comes in a relatively large bunch I usually freeze the entire stalk at it will last for a few months. When I need it for a recipe, all I do is peel off the outer layer and go at it. It’s just as good as when it’s fresh.