Vietnamese coriander (rau ram)
Want to expand your horizons beyond the standard herbs like basil, rosemary, and mint? Here are 12 lesser-known herbs to try this spring and summer. Not all of them will be available in grocery stores, but you might find them at farmers' markets, growing in parks, or in your own garden if you're inspired to plant something new!
- 1 Anise hyssop: Leaves and flowers have a licorice flavor. Try it in: teas, fruit dishes, baked goods
- 2 Borage: Young leaves and blue flowers have a cucumber flavor. Try it in: salads, desserts, cold drinks like Pimm's Cup
- 3 Chervil: Cooking tends to destroy the delicate anise aroma and flavor, so add it at the end or eat it raw. Try it in: steamed vegetables, vinaigrettes, eggs
- 4 Culantro (recao): Tastes like a more intense cilantro; often used in Latin American and Southeast Asian cooking. Try it in: beans, sofrito, pho
- 5 Epazote: Cooking or drying mellows the pungent flavor and the herb is known for its gas-relieving properties. Try it in: beans, moles, Mexican stews
- 6 Lemon verbena: Has the flavor of spring and summer: bright, fresh, lemony. Try it in: tisanes, cocktails, whipped cream
- 7 Lovage: Leaves taste like a cross between celery and parsley; stems, roots, and seeds can be eaten, too. Try it in: soups, poultry dishes, simple syrup
- 8 Perilla (shiso): Has a minty, anise-like flavor and is often found in Japanese and other Asian cuisines. Try it in: sushi rolls, cocktails, pesto
- 9 Salad burnet: Delicate leaves have a cucumber flavor. Try it in: salads, cold drinks, compound butters and tea sandwiches
- 10 Sorrel: Tastes bright and acidic, like a tangy green apple or lemon. Try it in: salads, soups, sauces
- 11 Summer savory: Has a peppery thyme-like flavor. Try it in: bean dishes, dressings or stuffings, marianades for meat and vegetables
- 12 Vietnamese coriander (rau ram): Similar to cilantro but more peppery and earthy. Try it in: salads, summer rolls, cold noodle dishes
What other lesser-known herbs do you enjoy cooking with?
This post was requested by eaturveggies1 for Reader Request Week 2013.
(Images: 1. Victor Kulygin; 2. Maria Meester/Shutterstock; 3. Shenandoah Growers - Fresh Herbs; 4. pittaya/Shutterstock; 5. Emily Ho; 6. Faith Durand; 7. Flickr member Alexandra Clark of the blog Unsweetened.ca; 8. eye-blink/Shutterstock; 9. Emily Ho; 10. Faith Durand; 11. The Cook's Garden; 12. joloei/Shutterstock)