Swamp Leaf, Rice Paddy Plant, Keukeuhan
Limnophila aromatica F. Scrophulariaceae
Herb Book Commendations
Perennial, thick clumping herb to 30cm with succulent stems; linear-shaped leaves 3cm long, with fine serrated margins, form opposite (or in whorls of three leaves) on the hairy stems; dainty, lavender trumpet flowers, 1cm long, set on terminal stems. Leaves have a delightfully, refreshing aroma, which can’t be compared to any other herb. Some people say it has a flavour of lemon, nutmeg and curry, but I prefer to say it has a flavour of its own, very special and tantalising.
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Leafy stems are eaten raw or cooked as greens and used to flavour soups, meat and fish dishes, vegetables, dips, and curries. Serve sprigs with salads, appetisers, root vegetables, and fresh fruit. The delightful flavour of the leaves have a wonderful way of enhancing sweet and sour dishes, and this has been a traditional use in Asian cuisine. It is often eaten as a side dish, with rice. Rau om is an essential ingredient in numerous Vietnamese dishes, especially a soup made with tamarind and cantaloupe. Leaves dry well and keep their flavour, for sprinkling over foods, savoury or sweet. Tip sprigs make a tasty aromatic garnish and conversation piece. Use sprigs on a platter with finger food. Rau om is one of my favourite herbs, for its appealing flavour and fabulously refreshing aroma.