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Mar 26, 2013 08:45 AM

What herb did I buy?

I'm in the habit of buying new foods, googling them, and figuring out what to do.

I bought an herb called kayan. Google thinks it's cayenne or a youth basketball player named Kayan Herb. Nothing helpful!

It looks vaguely like tarragon, but with a shorter leaf. Tastes sweet and citrusy. It's yummy.

The store I bought it at is owned by Koreans but caters to every possible immigrant group, so it could from anywhere...

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  1. Before reading your post, I also guessed tarragon. Maybe some variety of it?

      1. re: mcf

        Curry leaves that I buy are broader, but perhaps these are young ones?

        1. re: pine time

          I dunno, but look at the pics on the link... there's one that I think looks like the above.

        2. re: mcf

          Curry leaves aren't citrusy. They're more of a sort of smokey-ish flavour. Also, those leaves are the wrong shape for the two varieties of curry leaves I'm familiar with, and the stems are all wrong.

        3. It looks a bit darker than what I'm used to but I think it may be "rice paddy herb" or Ngo Om in Vietnamese. It is fantastic in a delicious sour soup with tamarind and fish

          Andrea Nguyen of VietWorldKitchen says the following:

          "I typically use ngo om (rice paddy herb) for canh chua ca (sour fish soup), which is a southern favorite made with catfish (or ca loc, snakehead fish), tamarind, pineapple, tomato, and bean sprouts. Right at the end, you add some chopped up ngo om and it adds its delicate fragrance and flavor to the hot broth."

          1 Reply
          1. re: seamunky

            Yes...and the stems look a little thinner than what I see. It's not a Vietnamese coriander, is it? The taste described seems more like what you (or mcf below) suggests, given the citrus hints.

          2. Pretty sure it is not curry leaf---the stem configuration is all wrong.

            But I think rice paddy plant, which is sometimes known as "kayang" would be a likely guess.

            6 Replies
            1. re: qianning


              I think you're correct qianning-rice paddy herb. Images above provide a closer detail

              1. re: HillJ

                I'm pretty sure it's rice paddy plant. The pictures in the link are very similar to what I have .I plan to use some tonight in a frittata and then again in broccoli soup and then make my wife guess what I put in. (I'll tell her after a few guesses. Needless to say she won't guess "rice paddy plant.")

                We'll see how I like it after cooking with it, but to nibble a few leaves it's really yummy. It seems like something that could be more widely popular someday.

                Thanks everyone.

                1. re: BenIsHere

                  You're fortunate, I cannot find rice paddy plants in NJ.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    I used it in dinner tonight (frittata and broccoli soup) and was a little disappointed. The nice flavors of the herb didn't come through, even though I thought I used a lot.

                    Next time I'll follow an actual Vietnamese recipe. I could see the flavor working great with fish.

                    1. re: BenIsHere

                      Sometimes you need to add it at the last minute, as you take your dish off the heat, to avoid losing it's quality.

                      1. re: BenIsHere

                        Would you consider trying it as a tea? The one time I was able to purchase the leaves in CA I made a sweet tea with the leaves and it was very nice.

                        I've also added chopped rice paddy leaves in bread dough.

              2. Just wanted to say great post, and this habit:

                "I'm in the habit of buying new foods, googling them, and figuring out what to do."

                is one of the most fun things about living in the 21st century! I encourage this habit.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Sarah Perry

                  It's what I do, too. It's more fun that way. :D