Vietnamese Coriander or daum kesum, in Malay, is a lemony, spicy and tangy herb that captures so much that is South East Asian Cooking.
Persicaria Odorata is also known as Vietnamese Mint, Rau Ram in Vietnamese, Phak Phai in Thai and Pak Phaew in Laotian. It is one of my favourite herbs!
How to grow your own Laksa Leaves (Daun Kesum)
It’s extremely easy to propagate but if you don’t live in the tropics, it needs to be kept indoors – even in the summer – as it doesn’t like chilly evenings.
If you are lucky enough to get fresh ones, just snip off a couple of stems at an angle, leave in a glass of water and, within days, you’ll see roots forming. Then, just pot it up with some compost. Vietnamese Coriander is a prolific grower when it’s happy.
I recently (summer 2019) posted a few stalks to relatives up in Sheffield, and within a couple of weeks, they sent me a picture of a very happy plant.
How to use Vietnamese Coriander
- daum kesum is great in curries, stews and soups, especially anything with a South East Asian slant
- laksa leaves are also fantastic in salads
- they can also be added to rice as the rice is cooking for a wonderful aroma
Recipes on LinsFood with Daun Kesum
You can find many recipes on LinsFood that use this herb. They’ll be on the Singaporean and Malaysian Recipes page. These are some examples:
Daun Kesum Substitute
There is no substitute for Vietnamese coriander.
However, you can use alternative herbs in recipes that call for daun kesum. I emphasise alternative because the aroma isn’t going to be the same, so you are not going for the closest, you are going for something different.
The more common alternative is the plain old fresh coriander leaves or cilantro in American speak. Just chop them up and scatter just before serving or when you’ve turned the heat off.
If you have access to the slightly exotic Kaffir lime leaves, you can also use those instead of Laksa Leaves.
How to use Vietnamese Coriander (Daun Kesum)
- A pair of scissors would be handy!
- 3-4 sprigs Vietnamese coriander or as the recipe states
- Vietnamese coriander wants to be added about 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time, so as to retain as much of that fresh, citrusy aroma as possible.
- Rinse, then use as they are in your recipe. No need to pick the leaves.
- Just before serving, pick the sprigs out and discard, if you like.