The betel leaf in grown throughout South East Asia and comes from the vine of the pepper and kava families. It is commonly used for medicinal and mild stimulant properties. The betel leaf is widely used as a tobacco and the betel leaf also plays an important role in the Vietnamese culture. In Vietnamese there is a saying that "the betel begins the conversation", referring to the practice of people chewing betel in formal occasions or "to break the ice" in awkward situations.
Sourcing betel leaves in Sydney can be difficult. Try the Asian grocers in Chinatown and the Fiji markets in Newtown.
10 cloves garlic, peeled ½ cup olive oil 6 dried long red chillies, seeded
½ cup basmati rice, raw 1 x 5 cm (2 in) piece galangal, finely sliced
3 cm piece lemongrass, finely sliced
1 bunch coriander
3 kaffir lime leaves, julienned
2 tablespoons palm sugar, shaved 3 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons Chilli jam
Juice of 2 limes 1 whole smoked river trout, remove skin and flake meat
1 green mango, peeled and finely shredded 2 red eschallots, peeled and thinly sliced 20 betel leaves