Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vietnamese mint (Persicaria Odorata)

my pot of daun kesum...just love the smell!

The Vietnamese mint or cilantro or Vietnamese coriander is a herb. Though called a mint, it has no relation to the mints or its family Lamiaceae. Vietnamese mint, Persicaria Odorata (Latin name) is in the family of Polygonaceae collectively known as smartweeds or pinkweeds. The herb or the leaves are widely used in South East Asian countries in their cooking. In Malaysia and Singapore it is called daun kesum or daun laksa (laksa leaf).

daun kesum (vietnamese mint)

The leaves have a lemony fragrant and spicy taste, reminiscent of the mint or lemon grass and can be eaten raw added to salad or used as a garnishing ingredient in spicy noodle soup ( laksa), so much so its popularly known here as laksa leaf. Also can be added to cooking asam pedas ikan (spicy fish soup). The herb when added to the cooking, will give the dish a peculiar taste and smell of the leaves. It can be easily grown, needs warm condition and damp or moist soil, and are mostly found in tropical and sub-tropical countries.

I make this today for a side dish.....cucumber and pineapple salad
with mint and daun kesum and kafir lime juice

The herb can be grown easily by putting a bunch of daun kesum stems in water until they sprout white roots at the jointed stems. Then put them in pot with moist soil, fertilise and water them regularly. If you find your pot of daun kesum is drying and dying, most likely you have not given them enough water so the soil become dehydrated! Just take them out, cut all dying stems and leaves and repot with loose soil and water them. They will spring to life in no time!

yesterday I cooked asam pedas ikan with eggplants and tomatoes and
lots of daun kesum

my favourite... asam laksa or penang laksa with
daun kesum, cashew nut shoot and cucumber as garnishing
ingredients...hot and spicy!

According to Wikipedia, the Vietnamese claim that the herb can treat swellings, acne, indigestion, flatulence and stomach aches.....And they are used to repress sexual urges! It seems that many Buddhist monks grow this Vietnamese mint or daun kesum in their private garden and eat it frequently as a helpful step in their celibate life. There's a saying in Vietnamese, translated to 'if you want to reduce sexual desires, take this mint...but if you want the opposite effect, take bean sprouts'! Anybody want to prove this saying?


One said...

Your food look absolutely delicious. You must be very good at cooking. Where did you get your Daun Kesum from? To your question if the Watering Spikes are available in supermarkets, I haven't seen them before. I got mine from a wholesaler. I bought lots of cute porcelain pots from the same wholesaler too.

rainfield61 said...

Oh I see!!

It is actually Daun Laksa.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

All my favourite dish and feel so hungry suddenly. Thank you for the email finally got it.

Autumn Belle said...

I really like daun kesum in assam laksa. It gives it the oomph factor. My last attempt at growing kesum from leftover stem cuttings was not very successful. Now I'll try rooting them in water first. Thanks for the great tip!

Anonymous said...

I want to come to your house for dinner, but it would be a long trip. Very interesting about this herb. I imagine it is not related to what we call cilantro. Thanks for picking my snowdrop post. Carolyn

Andrea said...

Hi thanks for visiting my site i was able to see yours. This dishes seem to be yummy, i love Vietnamese dishes too, but of course i also like Malaysian as long as they are not too spicy. I am sure One and Autumn Belle can relate very well to your dishes. And i like your photos too.

p3chandan said...

Thanks One,I love cooking but my cooking..well..passable la, not too bad but not that good too!:) I have 2 pots of daun kesum, one I planted it myself bought from Pasar Tani, the other one I bought at a nursery near my house.I loved your cute pots and the water spikes,does the wholesaler has a branch near Ampang, would love to pay them a visit..

Rainfield, yes daun kesum or daun laksa as it is better known..better dont take too much of it!;)

Diana, thanks..Im eagerly waiting..:)

Autumn Belle, hopefully you have endless supply of your home grown daun kesum soon! Better luck this time..

Carol, welcome to my small garden and of course dinner if you can!:) The herb may not be as spicy as cilantro but still as fragrance and tasty when added to our local dishes..

Hi Andrea, my pleasure! Welcome to my small garden..Of course One and Autumn Belle have their favourite dishes using this Vietnamese mint, they are hot n spicy but the salad is quite ok. Thanks for dropping by.

Stephanie said...

I love all your dishes. I like this mint also! It's fragrance is so necessary for laksa. Oh I am getting hungry now... :-D

fer said...

Very yummy! I would love to try that dish someday.
Is very interesting I think i knew this herb from my country, but I can't remember the name now.
I wonder how they discovered their uses.

p3chandan said...

Hi Steph..yes their distinct fragrance and taste give laksa and asam pedas their unique taste.

fer, I think by trial and error..:)

Malar said...

Your dishes are so tempting! I bet you're a good cook!
It's good idea of making salad with kesum and mint!

p3chandan said...

Thanks Malar..but Im not really a good cook..boleh laa..:). A lot of Thai n Vietnamese cuisines use kesum and mint giving them a unique blend of a lemony fragrance and spicy taste.

Carol said...

Gosh, This post makes me long for your food! Sounds and looks delicious. I am sure the mint enhances the flavors. Yummy!

kitchen flavours said...

Wow, your dishes looks delicious! I can almost smell the fragrant of the asam pedas with the daun kesum! Yummy!

p3chandan said...

Carol, kitchen flavours...thanks. Yes the Vietnamese mint really smell good!

Lady of Leisure said...

hi.. i stumble upon yr blog while searching some info about morning glory. i saw your morning glory pics and they are soooooo beautiful. tricolour morning glory rite? i bought some morning glory seeds from supermarket and plant them few days ago. hope they ll bloom soon. hehe. anyway, nice blog u have here.

Rosey said...

Maybe I should get some of this plant.
I need to eat the sprouts and my husband the leaves of this plant. Then we can have a happy medium of desire?

p3chandan said...

Salam Lady of Leisure..Actually my morning glory is purple blue but it turns pinkish or light purple at the edges by evening or the next day.Thanks for dropping by my small garden.

Hello Rosey....hahaha thats a good one!

Orchid de dangau said...

Salam...sedapnya asam laksa. Your vietnamese mint looks very healty...it's good also to cooks asam pedas...yummy!

p3chandan said...

Salam..thank you, those are most people's favourite dishes!

Gay Gardener said...

Mmmm...those photos of your cooking look so appetizing! I wish there was someone or a place that could make dishes that well! I guess I will have to settle for my plain pho ba. :-) I'll have to see if the soup shop I go to can make anything like that! Thanks for the blog mention as well!

Sunray said...

It's nice to see you use so much in your cooking.

Goldenray Yorkies