Grilled Beef Rolls with Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce


For these Vietnamese-style grilled-beef rolls (bo la lot), Andrew Zimmern wraps flavorful ground sirloin in briny grape leaves and serves them with a sweet, spicy, tangy dipping sauce. Traditionally, they are made with the betel leaf, which is also delicious and can be found at some Asian markets. Slideshow: Delicious Asian Grilling Recipes 

Grilled Beef Rolls with Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce
Flavorful ground sirloin is wrapped in briny grape leaves for these Vietnamese-style grilled-beef rolls. Photo: © Petrina Tinslay
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
5 hrs
40 rolls


Beef Rolls

  • 2 pounds ground sirloin

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons rice wine or sherry

  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek or other Asian chile sauce

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 40 jarred brined grape leaves—drained, rinsed and patted dry

  • Vegetable or peanut oil, for grilling

Nuoc Cham

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/3 cup hot water

  • 1/3 cup Asian fish sauce

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted roasted peanuts, finely chopped

  • Chopped cilantro and whole mint leaves, for garnish

  • Lettuce leaves, for wrapping


make the beef rolls

  1. In a bowl, combine the ground beef with all the remaining ingredients except the grape leaves. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

  2. Snip off any stems from the grape leaves. Spread 4 leaves on a work surface. Form a 1-tablespoon-size log of the beef filling at the stem end of each leaf. Fold the sides of each leaf over the filling, then tightly roll up the leaves to form 4 cylinders. Repeat with the remaining grape leaves and filling.

make the nuoc cham

  1. In a bowl, whisk the sugar into the hot water until dissolved. Whisk in the remaining ingredients, except the garnishes. Transfer the nuoc cham to a serving bowl.

  2. Light a grill. Lightly brush the grill and beef rolls with oil. Arrange the rolls on the grill and cook over moderate heat, turning often to prevent burning, until firm and just cooked through, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle the rolls with cilantro and mint. Serve warm with lettuce leaves for wrapping and the nuoc cham for dipping.

Suggested Pairing

Spicy, blackberry-inflected Malbec from California.

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