If you love cooking with fresh herbs and enjoy the taste of delicate flavours from around the world, take a look at these five fragrant Vietnamese herbs you can grow and add to your menu. Vietnamese cuisine makes use of plenty of herbs and spices, in various combinations. You’ll find plenty of basil and mint, as well as other less common herbs. If you are an adventurous eater and you love cooking fresh, get growing these special herbs in the garden – or look out for them in your local speciality food store.
- Vietnamese Balm
Known as kinh gi, the Vietnamese balm plant has bright green, serrated leaves and also flowers in the autumn time. This herb is slightly scented of lemon and mint, and has a delicate flavour that works extremely well in spring rolls, a classic from Vietnam.
- Vietnamese Coriander
Otherwise known as rau ram, according to vieteat.co.uk, this herb is an essential in Vietnamese cooking. The leaves of this trailing plant have a slightly spicy and lemony taste, and the overall mix is bitter with a hint of musk. The herb works very well in salads and can also be used in the traditional Vietnamese sandwiches – bahn mi – to up the flavour potential.
- Vietnamese Perilla
Tia to, Vietnamese perilla, is a fragrant herb that has green and purple leaves. It is great for using in soups, and the plant itself is a wonderful splash of colour in the garden or on the windowsill.
Ngo gai is also called Mexican coriander and it has fragrant, long, and serrated leaves that can be used to flavour all kinds of Vietnamese dishes. When you are making a recipe with regular coriander, you can replace it with Vietnamese coriander for more of a flavour hit. This herb is ideal for use in soups, spring rolls, and noodle dishes.
- Vietnamese Fish Mint
The herb diep ca is not particularly common as it has a strong fishy flavour, but this is a great herb for you when you want to create an authentic and striking dish for people to try. The taste is unique and it is great in fish soup, where it accentuates the flavours of the fish, and as an accompaniment to grilled meats. It is also ideal for eating raw in a noodle salad from Vietnam, or within spring rolls along with meat and fish.
Take a look at the other herbs and spices you can cook with when you are making authentic Vietnamese dishes. It is not hard to create a true taste of Vietnam in your own kitchen when you have good, fresh, and authentic ingredients.