Rau Răm

Rau răm, also called Vietnamese cilantro/coriander, has a taste that is similar to cilantro, but more peppery, somewhat citrusy, and slightly bitter. It is native to Southeast Asia and is a sturdy plant, growing back quickly after having been almost picked through for our restaurant’s participation in the L.A. Times Food Bowl! The photo below is taken just two weeks after the event, and as you can see, the plant is already producing leaves again with some sunshine and a good amount of water. Barely visible in the photo, rau răm leaves characteristically have a slightly dark, maroon shaped crescent on the base. We are hoping that this will become more visible with some additional time and love. Rau răm is best used fresh as a garnish over soups, curries, and salads!

Rau Ram 2

Click “continue reading” to see what our rau răm looked like after the L.A. Times Food Bowl…  Continue reading

Cilantro Flowers

Cilantro flowers are the petite, white-pink blossoms of the cilantro plant that blossoms in an umbrella-shaped cluster of flowers called an umbel. When fresh and in season, they are a beautiful garnish with a cooling effect on any dish. Packing a sweet and spicy bite, a few flowers go a long away!

Cilantro Flower

Fermented Tea Leaf Garnish 4 Ways [Myanmar]

4 tea leaf

Homework?? Yayyy! Nerd alert – I was honestly excited when Chef gave us all a bag of fermented tea leaves to take home and make something yummy out of for a tasting this upcoming Wednesday. Looking into the origin of the ingredient, fermented tea leaves are a commonly used ingredient called lahpet in Myanmar. Tasting it on its own, the leaf is quite bitter. In Myanmar, lahpet is traditionally used to make lahpet thoke, a tea leaf cabbage salad, or ahlu lahpet, a snack dish where the lahpet is served in the center of a tray surrounded by crunchier elements to be mixed with and eaten all together.

After brainstorming several ideas, the one that stuck was turning the fermented tea leaf into a crispy garnish that can go over a bowl of congee, silken tofu, or the like! Continue reading to discover the four ways I’ve flavored the garnish. My favorite so far is the Parmesan Tea Leaf Garnish! I’ll be needing to make a second batch of that one to take to the restaurant since the first is already almost all gone…

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