Beef with be­tel leaves are de­li­cious, and are even con­sid­ered an aphro­disiac

Oi Vietnam - - Contents -

BE­TEL PLANTS ORIG­I­NATED

FROM South­east Asia and has been cul­ti­vated for thou­sands of years. High in an­tiox­i­dants, their uses have in­cluded, but are not lim­ited to, medic­i­nal heal­ing, stim­u­lants and even breath fresh­en­ers. In In­dia, it’s even con­sider an aphro­disiac. The be­tel plant is part of the pep­per fam­ily and in­cludes two va­ri­eties, piper sar­men­to­sum and piper be­tle.

In Viet­namese cul­ture, the piper be­tle is also called trau and is used to “be­gin the con­ver­sa­tions,” in other words, helps break the ice in awk­ward sit­u­a­tions among adults as these were passed around as chew­ing gum. Of course, this was in the days of our grand­par­ent’s gen­er­a­tion and not so much any more to­day due to the un­flat­ter­ing stain­ing of teeth black when chew­ing these leaves with the areca nut.

Be­tel leaves also have sym­bolic mean­ing in tra­di­tional Viet­namese wed­dings where the groom would of­fer be­tel leaves, among other gifts, to the bride’s fam­ily. Hence, the Viet­namese phrase “chuyen

trau cau“mean­ing “mat­ters of be­tel and areca,” is syn­ony­mous with mar­riage.

Aside from these cul­tural sig­nif­i­cance, the piper sar­men­to­sum—also called la lot or wild be­tel leaves—are very pop­u­lar in Viet­namese cui­sine and they go great with cold beer or white wine.

In­gre­di­ents

• Beef ten­der­loin 300 g • Lean pork 300 g

• Be­tel leaves 40

• Rice ver­mi­celli 500

• Rice pa­per 30 pieces

• Herbs 200g

• Shallots 3

• Sesame oil 2 tbsp

• Salt, sugar, sea­son­ing enough • Cook­ing oil 2 tbsp

Dip­ping Sauce

• Peanut but­ter 5 tbsp

• Chopped gin­ger 1 tbsp

• Brown sugar 3 tbsp

• Chili sauce 2 tbsp

• Lime juice 2 tbsp

• Gar­lic 1 clove

• Wa­ter 2 tbsp

• Crushed roasted peanuts hand­ful

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