Lettuce Rolls with Rice Wine Lees (Diếp Cuốn Bỗng Rượu)

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Save Recipe Lettuce Rolls with Rice Wine Lees
  • 4Servings
  • 20 mPrep Time
  • 20 mCook Time
  • 40 mReady In
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This type of rolls is originated in Hà Nội, and is often consumed during summer. The so-called rice-wine lees or vinegar here is a vinegar-like paste or liquid which is a residue or by-product from rice wine making process. In Vietnamese, it’s known as giấm bỗng, dấm bỗng (misspelled), or bỗng rượu. This rice wine lees have a sour taste, and a wine flavor with low alcohol content, so it is easy to dispel the fishy smell of some types of fish or aquatic food. There are basically two forms: whole-grain paste (bỗng rượu), or vinegar-like liquid (giấm bỗng). Rice wine lees paste are cooked with sugar-cane syrup or molasses, creating a unique paste.

Hanoi lettuce rolls
Hanoi Lettuce Rolls

This Hanoi lettuce recipe calls for curly lettuce as the wrapping ingredient of the rolls, though other lettuces or mustard greens might also do. The “filling” of those lettuce rolls are soft rice noodle, pork belly, but rolls are often tied with shrimps using a strands of scallion. The best type of noodle is a Vietnamese noodle called bún răng bừa (harrow-shaped noodle), which is soft and straight.

Lettuce rolls ingredients
Lettuce rolls ingredients

The dipping sauce is a diluted fish sauce with minced garlic, chili and it also calls for the essence of giant water bugs which is very fragrant.



Step by step method

  • Cooking shrimps and pork belly

    Pan-roast the shrimps with some salt. Set aside. Boil the pork belly with some ginger slices, take an ice bath and slice into strips.

  • Cooking rice wine lee paste

    In a saucepan, add rice wine lees, sugarcane molasses or syrup and stir for about 5 -7 mins.

  • Making dipping sauce

    Mix a dipping sauce with 1 tablespoon sugar + 1 tablespoon fish sauce + 2 tablespoons water + 1/3 tablespoon minced garlic and minced chili + 1/2 tablespoon lime juice.

  • Wrapping and rolling

    Spread a lettuce leaf, place 1 pork belly piece, 1 scoop of rice wine lees, 1 shrimp, and herbs if any. Roll and tie with a poached scallion strand. If the leaf is too small, save the shrimp for an outer garnishing.

Tips & variations

  • The Japanese Sake kasu (酒粕) or sake lee is a close substitute for Vietnamese rice wine lees.

  • The Hanoi version normally does not call for Vietnamese sausages and omelette as in the featured image, but the Hải Phòng version may.

  • Some central Vietnamese versions used beef instead.

  • Pork belly can be roasted, instead of poached.

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