This recipe for Vietnamese grilled beef rolled in lá lốt (piper leaves or betel leaves) is from Hanoi-based Chef Didier Corlou, owner and chef behind La Verticale and the recently-opened Madame Hiên. Chef Corlou, born in Brittany and who first arrived in Vietnam in 1991, is a master of mixing combining French and Vietnamese ingredients and techniques.
1 lb oz (600 g) fine ground beef lean
5 oz (150 g) pork fatback cooked in boiling water
40 (36 + 4) lá lốt leaves, also called betel leaves or piper leaves
1¾ oz (50 g) pounded and finely chopped garlic
¾ oz (20 g) finely chopped shallots
Nước mắm, pepper, lemon juice, fresh chili
Cut the pork fatback in fine dices.
Wash the piper leaves thoroughly. Cut four leaves into thin strips and chop them coarsely.
Mix the ground beef with the pork fat, the chopped piper leaves, the garlic and shallots. Season, let it rest or two hours.
Spread each piper leaf, with the vivid green side down, put a tablespoon of beef on the leaves and roll.
Place the beef rolls on a grill and cook them over a charcoal fire.
Serve hot with a little nước mắm mixed with lemon juice and minced garlic and chili.
Variation: the beef can be cut in thin slices which you will marinate and then roll inside the piper leaves.
Charcoal gives to these olives a delicious grilled taste. A fresh salad together with fragrant herbs can be served along the beef. The flame of the burning charcoal gives a slightly bitter taste.