This is one course in a “beef seven ways” dinner. It is traditionally made with the leaves of lốt, an herb common in Vietnam. Grape leaves are the best substitute.

Yield: serves 6


  • 12 lb. ground beef
  • 1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 fresh hot red chile (Thai or serrano), thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 Tbsp. minced inner stalks lemongrass
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Vietnamese fish sauce (nýớc mắm)
  • 18 large grape leaves
  • Vegetable oil
  • Nýớc chấm


  1. Mix together beef, shallots, chile, garlic, lemongrass, sugar, and fish sauce in a medium bowl. If using wood skewers, place skewers in a pan of water and soak for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile rinse grape leaves, pat dry, and trim into 3” x 6” rectangles. Place about 1 tbsp. beef mixture in the center of each leaf and roll into a tight cylinder.
  3. Preheat a gas grill or place a stove-top grill pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Secure rolls crosswise on skewers, brush lightly with vegetable oil, and grill, turning once, until lightly charred, about 2 minutes per side. Serve with nýớc chấm.