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Jun 20, 2009 03:31 PM

Impulse buy ... what to do? Vietnamese coriander, Vietnamese mint, Vietnamese cilantro, Cambodian mint, hot mint, rau ram, pak pai, daun kesom(laksa leaf)

The sign said Chinese hot mint. It was $1.29 and looked nice. I figured I'd buy and and Google.

So ok. It is used in Vietnamese and Asian dishes ... outside of my cooking repetoire. Any ideas?

Wiki on the subject.

Hmmm ... after reading the health effects at the end, perhaps a certain unamed touchy politician should considering adding it to the family's menu.

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  1. Use lots in laab. From a previous post:

    "On the other hand, I'm often asked to make laab for about 20. Get 3 lbs pork and 3 lbs beef (can be inexpensive cuts and should have as little fat as possible) and have the meat ground with one pass through the largest holed cutting disc. Also get some tripe. Cut up the tripe in a small dice and cook/simmer while doing the other tasks. Break up and dunk ground meat in large pot of boiling water, break up the meat completely as fast as you can in the water and then quickly drain, allowing heat to dry the meat. Add: the tripe, the juice of 6 - 8 limes, maybe 1/4 cup (or more) fish sauce, four diced red onions, four chopped green onions, as many chopped chiles as you like (I usually make half mild and half HOT), lots of torn mint leaves, lots of chopped cilantro, torn Thai basil if available, and ground toasted rice (take a big handful of rice and toast it in a hot frying pan until golden, grind in coffee or spice grinder. Add half to the mixture and save the other half to sprinkle on top at serving). Mix all together. Taste and adjust as needed. You often need more fish sauce, lime juice, and chiles as the flavors integrate into the meat. More torn mint, basil, and cilantro and long slices of chile and the rest of the toasted ground rice to top the dish at serving. Side with lots of raw or quickly blanched green beans (tipped and strung), leaves of cabbage, more mint and basil, lettuces, newly emerged leaves of coffee or mango, and lots of rice - Lao sticky rice if you have it."

    4 Replies
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

      Oh .. my ... goodness. Waaaay above my cooking abilities ... and I'd have to buy fish sauce ... not to mention newly emerged leaves of coffee or mango

      I'm kind of thinking along the lines of pairing it with some meat or poulry in a sandwich or salad. Maybe sauteeing with garlic. I so appreciate this, but I should have been clearer. It took me five years to learn how to roast a turkey and I've been working on poached eggs for a few months now.

      1. re: rworange


        Option 2: cut up leaves in a chiffonade and add to a citrus salad / dessert (citrus sections with the membranes removed, bit of brown sugar).

        I've been happily following the poached egg quest!

        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          Ohhh ... cool. I have oranges ... I have brown sugar. I'm off to play with it now.

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            This is really excellent ... what a rush of flavor ... floral, citrusy, with a slight sorrel sourness. I don't get the mint connection though. Didn't remind me at all of mint ... although ... when first biting into it there's list little hot flavor that races across the tip of the tongue ... so maybe that's where the hot mint came from

            I had my usual "fresh fruit that got bruised on the trip home" salad with an orange and the chiffonade of the ... oh let's just call it rau ram. I added some fresh minced ginger and the brown sugar.After chewing a leaf, I thought it would star with the oranges. The surprise though was it was excellent with strawberries and blueberries. It was netral with raspberries and for some reason blackberries intensified the rau ram qualities.

            I want to see what it is like with figs, honeydew, watermelon and peaches. I'll bet it is great with watermelon.

            Looking around for recipes that didn't involve fish sauce ... though I could see why this would complement that ... it turns out one of my favorite dishes at Slanted Door uses it ... I never knew this contributed to the flavor ... Grapefruit and jicima salad ... pairs nice with reisling.

            I was thinking it would make a swell cocktail ... and darned if I didn't find one ... this blogger writes ...

            "There was something about the light texture of the herb's leaves and its clean but slightly peppery fragrance that made me want to use it in a cocktail. It looked and smelled so refreshing:

            Hanoi mojito

            This sounds really, really swell with stuff in it like lemongrass, fresh ginger, lime ... not to mention vodka.

            I'll bet rau ram woul be swell in some things something like lavender pairs with ... say a vinagrette, jelly, sorbet. I wonder if it would make a good tea? I'll have to give that a try tommorrow ... unless someone tells me otherwise.

            It does like pig though. I was sauteeing some radish greens with garlic and threw a little rauram in ... it just embraced that bacon like a long lost love.

            Also threw a few leaves in my green salad. Have to think about this more. It was fine, but needed something. Also I got some weird watermelon radish that tasted like bacon ... I kept looking to see if I accidently put bacon in the salad ... nope ... it was the radish ... so that distracted me.

            I'll bet it would make a swell salsa too. I have to think that through. I had a surprise at a falafel bar of all places recently. One of the toppings was salsa fresca. They added fresh chopped ginger ... wow, oh, won ... I've been adding ginger to salsa fresca all the time now. Next time I'll sub the rau ram for the cilantro.

      2. You could certainly use many of those greens as a base for a salad. Add shredded poached chicken (store-bought roasted?), poached shrimp (no diy necessary depending on where you shop), cucumber (don’t even have to deseed if you buy kirbys), shredded carrot, unsalted roasted peanuts.

        The problem is, you’ve got Vietnamese ingredients. There’s damned little you’re going to make that’s Vietnamese without the ubiquitous fish sauce. But so what? Make a dressing of fresh lime juice, sugar, water, maybe a mashed up anchovy, and a chopped chile or two if you go for that sort of thing and you could call it Vietnamese if you want to.

        5 Replies
        1. re: JoanN

          Thanks. I'll give it a try. I wonder if it would be good with the sardines I have.

          1. re: rworange

            Eeeew! Sardines and Vietnamese food does not compute in my brain. But who knows? You may have made a brilliant discovery. Let us know if you try it.

            1. re: JoanN

              Sardines in tomato paste (fork blended) sprinkled with fresh salt and pepper atop sliced red onion which had been marinading in red wine vinegar...served with slices of baguette. Vietnamese snack food.

              1. re: JoanN

                I posted that before I tried it. Way too floral for sardines.I'm not sure about anchovies though.

                1. re: rworange

                  If you have worchestshire sauce, maybe you could sub that for fish sauce.

                  I'm growing some myself this year, because I always get one weird new thing for my herb garden, so far I've made a few Chinese dishes and put it in there, and also in salad, just because it's growing like crazy. Definitely going to try the mojito.

          2. What's the difference between the coriander and cilantro? They're the same plant. Do they look the same? My sister in law is growing some "cilantro" that looks like dill, but definitely has a mild taste of cilantro. Never seen that one before myself.

            4 Replies
            1. re: dmd_kc

              Coriander are the seeds (they look like brownish peppercorns) of the cilantro plant and have a floral flavour. Cilantro looks more like parsley.

              1. re: Caralien

                To anticipate another question, "culantro" [with a 'u'] is something else entirely...a plant called Eryngium foetidum, widely used in the Caribbean and also SE Asia. The best descriptive name is "sawtooth herb." I occasionally see a leaf or two of this included with the garnish plate for pho (along with bean sprouts, lime, thai basil, mint, etc.) .

                This herb has an assertive flavour--reminds me more of epazote than cilantro.


                1. re: zamorski

                  seems that Eryngium foetidum is native to Mexico (Mexican coriander)? I've always found a high correlation between ingredients used in SE Asia and Mexico, though used differently at times (based unscientifically on the uses my SoCal family and VN mother had in common).

              2. re: dmd_kc

                Yeah, I get why this gets compared to coriander/cilatro ... well, mainly cilantro ... though it really isn't close in taste. I am guessing if someone hates cilantro, they would hate this as it has that soapy note to it. However this is its own class, very floral with the hints of citrus.

                I'm glad they called it a name I wasn't familiar with. If it had been labeled rau ram or laska, I probably would have passed it by. However, because I never heard of it, I was curious.

              3. rworange, if you don't mind, where did you buy your rau ram?

                2 Replies
                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  Berkely Bowl.My new thing of the week.

                  1. re: rworange

                    Excellent, thank you! You have some great ideas for pairing it with other flavors.