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This recipe requires some preparation time, with its blend of coconut, ginger, fresh bitter leaves, peanut, lime and chillie its fantastic.

Ingredients: Filling

  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) grated coconut
  • 2 small limes, unpeeled, cut into small cubes
  • 90 ml (6 tbsp) shallots, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 90 ml (6 tbsp) roasted peanuts
  • 90 ml (6 tbsp) small dried shrimps
  • 4-5 fresh chillie, phrik ki nu, cut into small slivers
  • 120 gm (4 oz) fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small cubes

Ingredients: Sauce

  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste, roasted until fragrant
  • 60 gm (2 oz) fresh galangal, cut into slivers and roasted until fragrant (see note below)
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) grated coconut, roasted in a low-heat oven until lightly brown
  • 120 gm (4 oz) small dried shrimps
  • 60 gm (2 oz) shallots, peeled and coarsely cut
  • 1.5 teaspoons fresh ginger, sliced
  • 230 gm (8 oz) palm sugar (broken into small chunks)
  • 2 tbsp table sugar
  • salt for seasoning

Method: Sauce

  1. In a mortar and pestle, pound together the shallots and galangal until fine.
  2. Add roasted shrimp paste, ginger, coconut and dried shrimp, and continue pounding until smooth.
  3. Remove the mixture and place in a pot with 360 ml (1.5 cups) water.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium heat, add palm sugar and table sugar, then reduce heat and simmer, wait until reduced to 240 ml (1 cup) or a bit less.
  5. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.

Wrapping Leaves

The choice of what leaves to use is up to you. Some use lettuce or spinach leaves due to ready availability, but to get an authentic flavour you should use the fresh cha-phloo leaves offered by These leaves are also known in English as Betel Leaves, or Piper Sermentosum. In Vietnamese language, these leaves are labelled as La Lop.


Roast the coconut in a low-heat oven until lightly brown. Spoon the roasted coconut into a serving plate. In separate small bowls, arrange each filling ingredient listed above. With a fresh wrapping leaf in hand, fold it once across the bottom then sideways to form a pocket. Place about 1 teaspoon roasted coconut in the leaf together with a small amount of each filling to create a bite-sized quantity. Spoon the sauce on top, pop in your mouth and enjoy!