Barbecued beef in betel leaves

Barbecued beef in betel leaves

Ben's BBQ Bible
Billy Law

Serve these with Sweet chilli sauce, or with Vietnamese rice noodle salad. If you absolutely can’t get hold of betel leaves, you can use vine leaves instead.


Quantity Ingredient
250g minced beef
2 tablespoons palm sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
24 betel leaves

Spice paste

Quantity Ingredient
2 red chillies, roughly chopped
pinch salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh galangal
1 tablespoon chopped coriander root
1 kaffir lime leaf, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
5 red asian shallots


  1. Firstly, make the spice paste by pounding the ingredients in a mortar until smooth.
  2. Combine the spice paste with the beef, palm sugar and fish sauce, mixing well. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  3. Soak about 10 bamboo skewers for 1 hour in some water.
  4. Prepare your barbecue for direct grilling over a medium heat, or preferably prepare a charcoal fire.
  5. Wash your betel leaves and pat dry with a clean cloth.
  6. Divide the beef mixture among the betel leaves and wrap them up, enclosing the mince completely. Secure with the soaked bamboo skewers – six betel leaves to a skewer – to make them easier to cook.
  7. Place the skewers directly on the barbecue, or on a rack over the charcoal grill.
  8. Cook the skewers slowly. If the heat at medium is too high, turn several times on the barbecue and move to the resting rack to slowly cook, or turn the heat down on your gas barbecue, so as not to burn the betel leaves – a little charring is unavoidable.
  9. Serve straight away.
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