Vietnamese coriander (Polygonum odoratum) is also known as Asian mint, Vietnamese mint, smartweed, fragrant knotweed, laksa leaf and rau ram. This is an excellent hot weather perennial for your herb garden that will grow to 24”to36”tall and spread rapidly if given plenty of water. Though not a mint variety, it does like to have wet feet, like mints prefer (do not let it dry out between watering). It can even be planted along the edges of a pond or bog. Though most sources recommend planting in full sun, we don’t recommend planting in the full afternoon sun in our area. A morning sun or a light shade location is actually best. Vietnamese Coriander is a culinary herb and if it gets too much sun, it will taste bitter. This herb is very aromatic and smells and tastes similar to cilantro. How wonderful to have a warm weather substitute for cooking when the weather is just too hot for cilantro to grow.
Easy Chicken and Cabbage Salad with Vietnamese Coriander
(Modified from http://leitesculinaria.com)
1 medium whole cooked chicken (3 to 4 pounds)
2 cups green cabbage, cut into strips, 2 inches long and 1/2 inch thick
1 teaspoon salt
1 small yellow onion, halved through the root end, sliced paper-thin into semi-circles, soaked in ice water 30 minutes, drained well
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cups shredded or julienne carrot
2 long red Thai bird chiles or other hot red chiles, cut into julienne strips
3 cups Vietnamese coriander leaves
1/4 cup fried shallots
Pull the skin off the chicken and discard. Pull the meat from the breast, thighs, and legs, tearing it into 1/4- to 1/2-inch wide strips. Use approximately 1 pound for the salad.
Toss the cabbage and salt together let rest for 15 minutes, then squeeze out all excess moisture.
To make the dressing, whisk together the garlic, lime juice, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, and black pepper in a large bowl.
To serve, add the sliced onions, carrots, cabbage, and chicken to the dressing. Toss gently until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning before folding in the herbs. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with the shallots.