Vietnamese Grilled Beef in Lolot Leaves (Bo Nuong La Lot)

Vietnamese Grilled Beef in Lolot Leaves is a simple dish made of beef and piper lolot leaves, a native plant in Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam. It’s tasty and smells so good thanks to the lolot leaves, which will satisfy your appetite.

Vietnamese Grilled Beef in Lolot Leaves - Bò nướng lá lốt

Grilled Beef in Lolot Leaves is one of my childhood dishes. My mom just picked some leaves in the garden, used them to roll ground beef, then grilled them on a simple charcoal stove. We enjoyed the dish with cooked rice, sometimes with rice paper and vegetables.

Distinguishing between piper lolot and betel leaves

Piper lolot leaves, used to make grilled beef in lolot leaves (bo nuong la lot), a common dish in Vietnam

What are Lolot Leaves?

Lolot leaves, or Piper Lolot, Wild Betel, is a tropical herb native to several Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. These leaves, which are thin, heart-shaped, and glossy, can easily crawl and grow on the ground. Thanks to its special aroma and taste, lolot leaves become a familiar ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisines.

While researching this dish, I realized that there is confusion between Piper Lolot and Betel leaves. These two plants belong to the same Piper genus (also the same as pepper), but the flavor is quite different. Betel leaves are usually bigger, thicker, brighter, and have a more intense, strong flavor than lolot leaves. The betel vine tends to climb higher, leaning against a tree or pole, which is like pepper, while the lolot vine crawls on the ground.

Although this dish is often called “Vietnamese Grilled Beef in Betel Leaves,” in fact, it has to be “Vietnamese Grilled Beef in Lolot Leaves.” However, when lolot leaves are exported to the EU or the US, they are sometimes named “Betel Leaves.” Therefore, you should check the leaves carefully based on their features: they are thin, heart-shaped, glossy, and dark green.

Ingredients of Grilled Beef in Lolot Leaves

Here are the ingredients of the dish, enough for 4 people:

The Beef

  • 500g (17.6 oz) minced beef
  • 1 tbsp spring onion whites (2 pieces)
  • 15g (0.5 oz) shredded lolot leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped shallots
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped garlic (1 clove)
  • 2 tbsp chopped lemongrass (1 stalk)
  • 45g (3 tbsp) cooking oil
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp five spice powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

Lolot Leaves

  • About 100g (3.5 oz) lolot leaves (only leaves, no stems) – it will be 200g (7 oz) if including stems

Dipping sauce

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chopped lemongrass
  • (Optional) 150g (5.3 oz) finely chopped and sautéed pineapple
  • (Optional) 1/2 tsp chili

Other (Optional)

Vietnamese Grilled Beef in Lolot leaves

How to make Vietnamese Grilled Beef in Lolot Leaves

  • Preparation: Wash lolot leaves thoroughly and let them dry for a while. Chop lemongrass, shallots, spring onion whites, and garlic finely, then set aside separately. You’ll use these ingredients to mix with the beef and to make the dipping sauce.
  • Mixing Beef: After washing lolot leaves, pick some of the leaves (should be small ones, save the bigger ones to roll the beef) and cut them into small strips. Then, in a bowl, add everything in: beef, spring onion whites, lolot leaves, cooking oil, chopped garlic, shallots, lemongrass, and all condiments (salt, sugar, oyster sauce, soy sauce, five spice powder, and ground pepper). Mix them well together.
Mixing beef with lolot leaves to make vietnamese grilled beef in lolot leaves
  • Rolling Beef Rolls: Lie the back of the leaves up. Over it, lay a proper amount of beef. Because the size of each leaf is different, you should adjust the amount of the beef of each roll. Gently roll from the leaf’s tip to the leaf’s stem and use the stem as a hook to keep the roll in shape.
How to roll Vietnamese grilled beef in lolot leaves
  • Grilling the Beef Rolls: It’s most ideal if you have a charcoal griller; if not, you can try my options with aluminum foil or a Dutch oven. The result is quite like grilling on a griller, although it will lack the unique charcoal smell. Cover a saucepan with aluminum foil then lay the beef rolls on to grill, or directly grill them on a Dutch oven or cast-iron skillet. Remember to flip them to achieve evenly grilled beef in lolot leaves.
grilling beef in lolot leaves
  • Making dipping sauce and serving: Crush roasted peanuts to sprinkle over the grilled beef. Make the dipping sauce by mixing all the ingredients together; if you use pineapple, remember to sauté them with a bit of oil on medium heat. Serve with vegetables, herbs, pickled carrots and daikon, and rice paper to roll everything together. You can also enjoy grilled beef in lolot leaves with cooked rice.
Grilled Beef in Lolot leaves

Storing Grilled Beef in Lolot Leaves

What if you can’t eat all the beef rolls at once? You can store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To heat up, I recommend using a microwave instead of grilling the rolls again because they might become drier and burnt.

Tips for Perfect Beef Rolls

I didn’t successfully make this dish at first and had to try several times because the lolot leaves can’t stick with the beef to keep the rolls in shape. There are some tips I learned from my failure:

  • Adjust the amount of beef based on the size of the leaves. Don’t be greedy; use just a small amount of beef, usually smaller than your thumb, per roll.
  • Roll gently and tightly without tearing the leaves.
  • Finally, to make the leaves stick to the beef, use the hard stem to pin. In case you find this way difficult, then use a toothpick (1 toothpick per roll) or skewer (3-5 rolls per skewer) to skewer the rolls.

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Vietnamese Grilled Beef in Lolot Leaves - Bò nướng lá lốt

Vietnamese Grilled Beef in Lolot Leaves (Bo Nuong La Lot)

Vietnamese Grilled Beef in Lolot Leaves is a simple dish made of beef and piper lolot leaves, a native plant in Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: bo nuong la lot, grilled beef in betel leaves, vietnamese grilled beef in lolot leaves
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 450kcal
Author: Mia Pham

Ingredients

The Beef

  • 500 g (17.6 oz ) minced beef
  • 1 tbsp spring onion whites 2 pieces
  • 15 g 0.5 oz shredded lolot leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped shallots
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped garlic 1 clove
  • 2 tbsp chopped lemongrass 1 stalk
  • 45 g 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp five spice powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

Lolot Leaves

  • 100 g (3.5 oz) lolot leaves (only leaves, no stems) – it will be 200g (7 oz) if including stems

Dipping sauce

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chopped lemongrass
  • 150 g (5.3 oz) finely chopped and sautéed pineapple Optional
  • 1/2 tsp chili Optional

Other (Optional)

  • ½ cup roasted peanuts
  • Vegetables
  • Pickled Carrots and Daikon

Instructions

  • Preparation: Wash lolot leaves thoroughly and let them dry for a while. Chop lemongrass, shallots, spring onion whites, and garlic finely, then set aside separately. You’ll use these ingredients to mix with the beef and to make the dipping sauce.
    Piper lolot leaves, used to make grilled beef in lolot leaves (bo nuong la lot), a common dish in Vietnam
  • Mixing Beef: After washing lolot leaves, pick some of the leaves (should be small ones, save the bigger ones to roll the beef) and cut them into small strips. Then, in a bowl, add everything in: beef, spring onion whites, lolot leaves, cooking oil, chopped garlic, shallots, lemongrass, and all condiments (salt, sugar, oyster sauce, soy sauce, five spice powder, and ground pepper). Mix them well together.
    Mixing beef with lolot leaves to make vietnamese grilled beef in lolot leaves
  • Rolling Beef Rolls: Lie the back of the leaves up. Over it, lay a proper amount of beef. Because the size of each leaf is different, you should adjust the amount of the beef of each roll. Gently roll from the leaf’s tip to the leaf’s stem and use the stem as a hook to keep the roll in shape.
    How to roll Vietnamese grilled beef in lolot leaves
  • Grilling the Beef Rolls: It’s most ideal if you have a charcoal griller; if not, you can try my options with aluminum foil or a Dutch oven. The result is quite like grilling on a griller, although it will lack the unique charcoal smell. Cover a saucepan with aluminum foil then lay the beef rolls on to grill, or directly grill them on a Dutch oven or cast-iron skillet. Remember to flip them to achieve evenly grilled beef in lolot leaves.
    grilling beef in lolot leaves
  • Making dipping sauce and serving: Crush roasted peanuts to sprinkle over the grilled beef. Make the dipping sauce by mixing all the ingredients together; if you use pineapple, remember to sauté them with a bit of oil on medium heat. Serve with vegetables, herbs, pickled carrots and daikon, and rice paper to roll everything together. You can also enjoy grilled beef in lolot leaves with cooked rice.
    Vietnamese Grilled Beef in Lolot leaves

Nutrition

Serving: 200g | Calories: 450kcal

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