Grilled lemongrass beef rice-paper rolls
Vietnamese wraps make a table-side choose-your-own-adventure: serve up a few fab fillings and let guests do the rest. DIY-delicious. Instead of rice paper, you can easily swap for lettuce leaves and simply fill up with beef, hoisin sauce and the herbs of your choice.
Tangy, fragrant lemongrass beef rice paper rolls. Photo: William Meppem
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14 thin lemongrass stalks
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small red birds-eye chilli, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp fish sauce
600g good-quality rump beef, thickly minced
*200g pork mince (see tips below)
vegetable oil, for grilling
12 dried rice paper rounds
shredded carrot and cucumber
fresh herbs: eg. mint, coriander, Vietnamese mint, perilla leaves
nuoc cham dipping sauce (see rice pancake recipe)
Remove the tough outer leaves of the lemongrass. Take two stalks and finely chop the white part only. Trim the hard green tops from the remaining stalks and discard.
Using a mortar and pestle, pound the chopped lemongrass, garlic, chilli, sugar and pepper. Stir in the fish sauce to create a marinade.
Place the beef, pork and marinade in a mixing bowl, then knead until all ingredients have combined well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
With wet hands, divide the mixture into 12 portions and roll each into a sausage shape. Carefully thread onto each lemongrass stalk and brush with a little oil. Heat a barbecue on medium and cook, turning every few minutes, until done (about 6-8 minutes).
Serve on a platter along with the shredded vegetables, herbs and sauces. Place a bowl of warm water in the centre of the table to soften the rice paper.
Remove the beef from the lemongrass stalks, place in the middle of a softened rice paper round, and add whatever vegetables, herbs and sauces you like to create your own roll.
• *When making the lemongrass rolls, make sure the pork mince isn't too lean - the fat adds flavour and stops the beef from drying out.
• If you use wooden or bamboo skewers instead of lemongrass stalks, remember to soak them first for an hour so they don't burn.
Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Alice Story.