The most delicious herbs (rau thom) hail from Vietnam – how to root them for free in just water

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One of the things you notice quickly when sampling Vietnamese cuisine is the abundance of fresh herbs; herbs you probably have never seen or eaten.  Vietnamese herbs tend to be served on the side and used in dipping and raw in combination with the main dish.

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On our trip through Vietnam, there were few meals that did not come with one of these big bowls of herbs.

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After a few meals, we were able to quickly identify the different herbs.

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While all these herbs are easily available in Asian markets in the USA, I was wondering if it would be possible to get these herbs to root from purchased herbs.  Yes,  I am happy to report, it is possible and not really that hard.

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Here is a lineup of my rooting experiment.  I ended up using only water and sunlight and was pretty successful.  I have no doubt that if you used some actual rooting hormone, it would be even easier and quicker.  There is not much to discuss on the methodology.  Basically just place the herbs in water, place in a sunny window, change the water every few days and wait.  Some of these will root within days, some will take a few weeks.  If any of the herbs deteriorate (lose all leaves or rot), throw those out to keep the water clean.  Also, the age of the herbs is very important.  The fresher, the better.  Where I buy my herbs they actually mark the “packed on” day – try to get some that are packed the same day.

Here are the herbs that worked for me.

vietnanbalm

Vietnamese Balm/ Vietnamese Lemon Mint/ Kinh Giới  / Elsholtzia ciliata

Vietnamese Balm-kinh gi?i (500 Seeds) 30 Days To Harvest! Vietnamese Lemon Mint


List Price: $4.95 USD
New From: $4.95 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

These are delicious tasting like a combination of lemon, lemon grass, lemon balm and mint.  I find Vietnamese balm to be less strong than our western lemon balm.

vietnamesemint

Vietnamese Mint/Húng Cay/ Mentha x gracilis

Seeds and Things Vietnamese Mint Kinh Gioi 200+ Seeds by Seeds and Things


List Price: Price Not Listed
New From: 0 Out of Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

This is very similar to our western peppermint, perhaps a bit milder in flavor.  These ended up getting infected with spider mites, so I cut them back, they recuperated nicely.  I also planted these last year in the yard and they have come back strong over the mild winter that we had here in zone 7b.

thai basil

Thai Basil / Asian Basil / Húng Quế / Ocimum sp

Thai Basil Herb 100 Seeds – GARDEN FRESH PACK!


List Price: $2.59 USD
New From: $0.99 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

Most often associated with pho.  Nice sweet and spicy taste with hints of anise and licorice.  Delicious.

ricepaddyherb

Rice Paddy Herb/ Ngổ Ôm / Limnophila aromatica

A plant I had never seen before – Citrusy with a hint of cumin – interesting combination. These are looking a bit sad, but I am hoping that they will start perking up now that spring has sprung.

coriander

Vietnamese Coriander / Hot Mint / Rau Răm /Polygonum odoratum

Vietnamese Coriander (Rau Raum) Live Herb Plant


List Price: $4.75 USD
New From: $4.75 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

This is probably one of the fastest rooting plants that I have ever seen – indications of rooting were seen within 3 days.  The herb itself is spicy and hot with a hint of coriander.  These are supposed to be invasive – let’s see if they grow well.

fishmint

Fish Mint/ Diếp Cá /Houttuynia cordata

A wild form of this is used as garden ornamental – it is highly invasive so be careful.  These have a sour and fishy taste – one of those herbs that you either love or hate.

lemongrass

Lemon Grass/ Xả / Cymbopogon citrata

Herb Seeds – Lemon Grass – 500 Seeds


List Price: $2.00 USD
New From: $0.50 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

These are commonly found in regular supermarkets nowadays.  Easily rooted in water and then transferred to soil they will grow fast during the warm season.  Unlike the other herbs, lemon grass is too fibrous to eat raw, but is great in cooking and to make tea.  As the name says, it has a strong taste of lemon.

Any you have tried to root?

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