Also known as Vietnamese coriander, Cambodian mint and laksa Leaf this has to be my favorite Asian herb. Native to peninsular South-East Asia this is a perennial herb, which has striking pointed leaves, lime green in color with dark inner markings. With purple stems the whole plant evokes a wonderfully strong citrus aroma with a taste to match. Similar to coriander but with a lemon kick it is used widely in the food of Vietnam in particular and its neighboring countries.
How to Grow
I have never seen Vietnamese coriander seeds for sale in the UK but young established plants are becoming easier to find. Find a warm sunny position and keep the soil moist at all times, it grows rapidly and needs cutting back to encourage bushier growth as the stems get very long with few leaves if left to its own devices.
How to Cook
As one of its other names suggests this herb is an essential in laksas and other soups particularly the wonderful Vietnamese pho. I love to add it to noodle dishes and warm meat and seafood salads. A great and very simple way of trying Vietnamese coriander is to tear three or four leaves into a bowl and pour over a simple clear chicken stock that has been flavored with lemongrass, chilli, fish sauce and ginger. Add some noodles and other greens for a delicious filling and nutritious meal.