Vietnamese street foods are legendary, and rightfully so. These days, especially in the newly burgeoning restaurant scene in Hanoi, small little beef rolls wrapped in lot leaves have found their way onto menus everywhere, especially in fancy restaurants. Even chefs like Didier Corlou and Bobby Chinn serve versions of this dish in their restaurants on occasion. I started playing around with recipes when I was in Hanoi last week, and I found these pork and shrimp versions to be a big hit.
Vietnamese Pork and Shrimp Rolls with Nuoc Cham
36 grape leaves . . . the jarred ones in the grocery store are fine
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp
2 T. fresh lemongrass, chopped
2 T. chopped Thai basil
2 T. chopped cilantro leaves
2 t. brown sugar
2 T. tomato paste
1 T. minced garlic
1 T. minced ginger
2 T. oyster sauce
2 heads butter lettuce (Boston or Bibb)
2 T. crushed toasted peanuts
Combine the shrimp, lemongrass, basil, cilantro, sugar, garlic, and ginger in a food processor and pulse to combine. Grind to a chunky paste.
In a large work bowl, combine this mixture with the pork, oyster sauce, tomato paste, a few pinches of salt, and ground white pepper.
Working one at a time, roll a hefty tablespoon of filling into each grape leaf, from the stem-end working up to the point, burrito-style, folding in the ends. Snip the stems off the leaves if there are any before you begin. Grill rolls for 4–5 minutes over medium direct heat until firm and just cooked through.
Serve with the Nuoc Cham sauce, garnished with some crushed toasted peanuts, mint sprigs, and butter lettuce leaves for wrapping the rolls in. Makes 36 bite-sized rolls
1/2 c. fish sauce
3 T. sugar (or more to taste)
2 T. lime juice
1 fresh Thai chile, minced
1 t. grated ginger
2 t. grated carrot
2 T. minced shallot
Combine and serve.