026/18 – Bo la lot – Betel Leaf Wrapped Beef:
I was watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain No Reservations where he was in Vietnam. One dish that stood out was Bo la lot or Betel Leaf Wrapped Beef. It looked and sounded fantastic, I had to cook it!
I found a recipe online but that was for the basic dish, there were a number of sauces and side dishes recommended to go with this so the full dish is: Bo la lot with Bún, Đồ Chua, Mỡ Hành and Nước Chấm. Wow!
500g of fine beef mince from Turner and George – £4.50. I highly recommend the mince from Turner and George, it’s top quality. No gristle, no gnarly bits just good quality minced meat.
You don’t see Betel Leaves in the supermarkets up here, maybe they are easy to get in larger cities or Asian supermarkets but I got mine off Ebay! £11.50 for 40 leaves delivered. I went for these as they were imported from Sri Lanka which appealed as I had read Indian leaves had certain FSA requirements due to the risk of salmonella.
Everything else should be fairly easy to get hold of.
With quite a few different sauces and side dishes to go with the main meal I did a lot of prep up front:
Nước Chấm (Vietnamese Dipping Fish Sauce): Water, sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, garlic and Thai chillies.
Cách Làm Mỡ Hành (Vietnamese Scallion & Oil Garnish Recipe): Simply sliced spring onions pan fried in oil.
Đồ Chua (Vietnamese Daikon & Carrot Pickles): Thinly sliced carrots and radish (I couldn’t get Daikon) salted, rested then squeezed and dried and added to a sugar, water, vinegar mix and left in the fridge overnight.
Bún (Rice Noodles): Dry roasted then choped peanuts, sliced cucumber and mint leaves.
Bo la lot (Betel Leaf Wrapped Beef): Beef mixed with garlic, shallots, lemongrass, curry powder, fish sauce, sugar, pepper and salt.
I washed and dried all the Betel leaves.
Leaves all lined them all up to start filling with the meat mixture.
This photo is actually wrong. You are meant to face the shiny side of the leaf downwards, I had to go back and redo this one! About a tablespoon of the meat mixture at the bottom of the leaf.
I rolled the large end of the leaf over the meat mixture, tucked it under the meat and continued to roll. I chopped the last part of the thin end off with scissors and ran a skewer through that flap.
I fired up a full chimney of Oxford Charcoal Sweet Chestnut Lumpwood, that bag is now empty so I will need to order some more! Once fully lit I poured the charcoal all over the base of the grill to cook directly. I left it 10 minutes to settle then placed the skewers on the grill.
After around 3 or 4 minutes I flipped it over. The Betel leaves smelt really nice.
Another 4 minutes and flipped again, temperature was approaching 60c internal so not long to go.
Time to Eat:
Once the majority were hitting 60c internal on the Thermapen I took the skewers off the grill and left them to rest whilst I quickly cooked some rice noodles!
Rice noodles in the bowl, topped with Nước Chấm (Vietnamese Dipping Fish Sauce), Đồ Chua (Vietnamese Daikon & Carrot Pickles) on top of the noodles followed by Cách Làm Mỡ Hành (Vietnamese Scallion & Oil Garnish), sliced cucumber, mint leaves, peanuts, a couple of betel leaves and finally the Bo la lot. (Just 1 for the photo but I ate loads of them!)
I was quite tired after this cook, seemed like a lot of prep but I could have done most of that the night before. The dish itself tasted fantastic, great combination of flavours from the various components and the Bo la lot itself was very nice. Tasted a bit like sausage but with an Asian twist. The betel leaves smelt nice and had a slightly bitter taste to them. We felt that a bit of chilli added to the meat mixture would improve it slightly. Leftovers for lunch the next day was awesome, I am sure my colleagues enjoyed the fish sauce smell as it wafted round the office!
|Cook Duration:||Short: 2/5|
|Cook Equipment:||Weber Kettle|
|Charcoal:||Oxford Charcoal Sweet Chestnut|
|Cook time:||10 minutes|
|Notes:||Add a bit of chilli to the meat mixture.|