Vietnamese Coriander (Persicaria odorata)

Vietnamese Coriander (Persicaria odorata)
[size=75]From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [/size]

Vietnamese coriander (Persicaria odorata, syn. Polygonum odoratum, Polygonaceae) is a herb of which the leaves are frequently used in Southeast Asian cooking. Other English names for the herb include Vietnamese mint, Vietnamese cilantro, Cambodian mint and hot mint. The Vietnamese name is rau răm, while in Malaysia and Singapore it is called daun kesom or daun laksa (laksa leaf). In Thailand, it is called pak pai (ผักไผ่). It is not related to the mints, but the general appearance and odor are reminiscent.

Above all, the leaf is identified with Vietnamese cuisine, where it is commonly eaten fresh in salads and in raw spring rolls (goi cuon). Bowls of phở (beef noodles) are also typically garnished with Vietnamese mint. It is also popularly eaten with hột vịt lộn (fertilized duck egg, known as balut in the Philippines).

In Singapore and Malaysia, the shredded leaf is an essential ingredient of laksa, a spicy soup, so much so that the Malay name daun laksa means “laksa leaf.”

In Australia the plant is being investigated as a source of essential oil (kesom oil).

The Vietnamese coriander is a perennial plant that grows best in tropical and subtropical zones in warm and damp conditions. It cannot live above the 32° parallel or in places with too much water. In advantageous conditions, it can grow up to 15 to 30 cm. In the winter or when the temperature is too high, it can wither.

The top of its leaf is dark green, with chestnut-colored spots while the leaf’s bottom is burgundy red. Its stem has sections. In Vietnam it can be cultivated or found in the wild.

Its oil contains aldehydes such as decanal (28%) and dodecanal (44%), as well as the alcohol decanol (11%). Sesquiterpenes such as α-humulene and β-caryophyllene comprise about 15% of its oil.

Some images of Vietnamese Coriander (Persicaria odorata)