Chả Thịt Lợn Lá Lốt (Pork Betel Leaf Rolls)

From Ching Li

2013 Nov/Dec

The betel leaf is part of the pepper family that is high in antioxidants and used for medicinal healing or even as a stimulant. Culturally, it is used to break the tension in awkward situations by passing it around to chew, It’s also used as an offering from a groom to the bride’s family. When raw, the betel leaf is not very fragrant, but when cooked it imparts a light peppery, herbaceous aroma to the pork. Tradition calls for beef but you may use pork or chicken.


  • 1 pkg. fresh betel leaves (available at Asian markets in the produce section near the herbs)
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork shoulder
  • 1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 stalks green onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 t. tapioca starch
  • 4 t. cold water
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 t. ground pepper
  • 1/3 t. salt


Wash and cut the stems from the betel leaves. Mix the pork, shrimp and green onion in a bowl. Whisk together the tapioca starch, water, egg white, pepper and salt in a bowl and add it to the pork and shrimp mixture.

Place the betel leaves with the smooth, shiny side facing down. Place 1/2 t. of filling on a large betel leaf or layer multiple smaller ones to form a large leaf and wrap as you would a taco, folding in the sides. Try to make them flat, as they will be easier to fry.

Heat 1 t. oil in a pan over medium heat. Place the wraps in the pan and fry until the leaves are cooked – they’re cooked when they get soft. This will not take very long – less than a minute. Flip them over and fry the other side until cooked. Serve with dipping sauce. You may serve with rice or vermicelli or as an appetizer with beer.

Serves 6.