Vietnamese Coriander (Daun Kesum in Malay, also Laksa Leaves)

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Vietnamese Coriander, Daun Kesum
Vietnamese Coriander, Daun Kesum

Vietnamese Coriander or daun kesum, in Malay, is a lemony, spicy and tangy herb that captures so much that is South East Asian Cooking.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

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.

Vietnamese Coriander, Daun Kesum
Vietnamese Coriander, Daun Kesum

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

Mum’s Laksa Recipe (on SMR)
My mum's homemade Laksa recipe, also known as laksa lemak or Laksa Johor, with homemade paste from scratch plus a Cheat's Laksa Recipe!
Check out this recipe
Nasi Ulam
Nasi Ulam recipe, a rice salad from North Malaysia, served with a variety of side dishes like fried chicken, sambal belacan* (local shrimp paste chilli sauce) and fried fish, just to name a few.
Check out this recipe
Ikan Asam Pedas (on SMR)
Ikan Asam Pedas is a hot and sour, almost soupy, Malay fish curry found in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Traditionally, it’s always served with rice.
Check out this recipe
Ikan Asam Pedas in white bowl

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.

If you like the tutorial, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood

Lin xx

vietnamese mint sprig

How to use Vietnamese Coriander (Daun Kesum)

Vietnamese Coriander or daun kesum, in Malay, is a lemony, spicy and tangy herb that captures so much that is South East Asian Cooking.
5 from 5 votes
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Cuisine: Malaysian, Singaporean, South East Asian
Keyword: daun kesum, herbs, laksa leaves, vietnamese coriander
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Author: Azlin Bloor
Cost: £1 ($1.30) a bunch


  • 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.
Discover more Culinary Plants!Check out The Edible Garden

14 thoughts on “Vietnamese Coriander (Daun Kesum in Malay, also Laksa Leaves)”

  1. Hi,

    I like a strong smell of the Vietnamese Coriander leave in my Thai Laksa. Should I boil the leaves for many hours or put in the leaves towards the end of cooking.

  2. You can find daun kesum in canada BC in the city of Langley. The Saigon city Market a small grocery shop has many unique n authentic traditional vegetables n food stuff here to my pleasant surprise.

  3. Abu Bakar Abdullah

    WHERE to start? we can’t find ‘Daun Kesum’ in our part of North West England as Asian supermarkets do not stock it. Chinese shops do not know what we are talking about, so where can we acquire Daun Kesum to start growing it at home in Preston, Lancashire?
    My wife is from Singapore and is Malay, and we both love Laksa! not quite the same without ‘daun Kesum’ though!
    Abu Bakar Abdullah

    1. Here in the UK, it is usually called Vietnamese Coriander.
      Here you go:

      And there are a few more sellers on Ebay selling them if you want to look around. It’s so easy to propagate, just cut a stem and place in water. My new house is colder than our old one. So it didn’t make it through this last winter. I’m waiting for late March before buying a new pot from one of these sellers.
      PS: I was born in Singapore too.

      1. Linda Tan Panike

        Hi fellow Singaporean! I live in NE Oregon. I found Vietnamese Coriander plant at a local nursery here. Good to know I can keep my plant growing indoors when our weather turns colder. I finally realised daun kesum is the same plant. I am peranakan.

  4. I am trying to grow kesum using a 5 liter water bottle.
    Whereby I cut the bottle quarter way off and flip upside down and then open the bottle cap so that water is moisting the soil that I put in.

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