Laksa Leaves (Vietnamese coriander)


Persicaria odorata, the Vietnamese coriander, is a herb whose leaves are used in Southeast Asian cooking.

sprig-of-vietnamese-coriander

Laksa Leaves (Vietnamese coriander)

Other English names for the herb include Vietnamese mint, Vietnamese cilantro, Cambodian mint, hot mint, and laksa leaf. Its Vietnamese name is rau răm, while in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore it is called daun kesum, daun kesom or daun laksa. In Thailand, it is called phak phai (ผักไผ่) and the Hmong word for it is luam laws. In Laos, it is called phak phaew (ຜັກແພວ), and in Cambodia chi krasang tomhom (ជីរក្រសាំងទំហំ) or chi pong tea koun (ជីរពងទាកូន). In North-East India, Manipur state uses this as garnishing herb over various cuisines like eromba and singju. Manipuris called it as Phak-Pai.

It is neither related to the mints, nor is it in the mint family Lamiaceae but the general appearance and odour are reminiscent. Persicaria is in the family Polygonaceae, collectively known as smartweeds or pinkweeds.

Uses

  • Above all, the leaf is identified with Vietnamese cuisine, where it is commonly eaten fresh in salads (including chicken salad) and in raw summer rolls (gỏi cuốn), as well as in some soups such as canh chua and bún thang, and stews, such as fish kho tộ. It is also popularly eaten with hột vịt lộn (fertilied duck egg).
  • In the cuisine of Cambodia, the leaf is known as chi krasang tomhom (ជីរក្រសាំងទំហំ) and is used in soups, stews, salads, and the Cambodian summer rolls, naem (ណែម).
  • In Singapore and Malaysia, the shredded leaf is an essential ingredient of laksa, a spicy noodle soup, so much so that the Malay name daun laksa means “laksa leaf.”
  • In Laos and certain parts of Thailand the leaf is eaten with raw beef larb (Lao: ລາບ)
  • In Australia the plant is being investigated as a source of essential oil (kesom oil).

Substitutes

  • Mint
  • Equal parts mint and coriander

Recipes Using Vietnamese Coriander

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