Paddy grass in the rice fields around the Secret Lake in Kampot
Paddy Herb is a name that comes from the translation of the English name of the plant "Rice Paddy Herb", where paddy in English means rice field. This aromatic herb is also known in French as ambulie aromatique.
Paddy herb, botanically classified as Limnophila aromatica, is a tropical perennial plant belonging to the Plantaginaceae or plantain family. The name Limnophila in Greek means "pool-loving", which describes the native growing region of the plant. It therefore grows wild in semi-aquatic areas, especially in rice fields, and can grow prolifically there. It can also be cultivated in wetlands. Communities in Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, have been harvesting Paddy grass for thousands of years as a food source and natural medicine.
How is Paddy grass grown and harvested?
Paddy grass is a branched herb with straight, hollow stems and elongated, thin, pointed leaves that can grow to 30-50 centimeters in height. The stems have a light, succulent, spongy consistency, lightly covered with fine hairs. When left to grow, the plant produces small, pale pink flowers seasonally.
Secret Lake, near La Plantation in Kampot, is surrounded by rice fields cultivated by neighboring villagers. Our Paddy grass is harvested in the rainy season when the plant is still tender and fresh.
Harvesting and careful preparation of Paddy grass
Each herb is picked by hand, taking care to cut it above the root. The cut herbs are waterlogged and very fragile and cannot be stored for long. They are therefore immediately selected by hand, washed, cut and dehydrated at low temperature to preserve all their aromas.
Paddy Grass reveals lemony, herbaceous and spicy notes
Paddy Grass develops a unique aromatic palette that is difficult to describe but very recognizable from Southeast Asian cuisine. Paddy grass has a refreshing, citrus (fresh lemon peel) and herbal aroma and the stems and leaves have a vegetal, citrus, earthy and spicy (cumin) flavor. It is sometimes mentioned that its aroma is close to the haunting smell that emerges just after a strong summer storm.
Paddy grass is traditionally harvested and used as a fresh finishing herb in soups, curries and stir-fries. Although mostly used fresh in Asia, Paddy Herb can be difficult to find in Europe as it is very fragile and difficult to keep fresh for more than a few days. With our Paddy Herb powder, we offer you the possibility to give this singular and original touch to your dishes.
How to cook with Paddy Herb ?
Paddy Herb powder can be sprinkled in salads, integrated in a marinade (raw beef salad), a vinaigrette, a mayonnaise or a hollandaise sauce (replacing sorrel).
In Cambodia as well as throughout Southeast Asia, Paddy Herb is frequently used in soups (Phở beef noodle soup or fish soup)
Paddy Herb goes well with meats including poultry, beef, pork and fish, other herbs like lemongrass, basil and mint, steamed rice, lemon, lime, peppers, peas, broccoli, spinach, carrots and peanuts.
You can also season marinated mussels or cockles with Paddy Herb powder. It will give a nice green color and a herbaceous and spicy taste to your omelet, guacamole or eggplant caviar.
Kampot - Cambodia
100 % Paddy grass
Lemon, herbaceous and spicy
Raw beef salad, spring rolls, Phở beef noodle soup or fish soup, Stir-fried shrimp or shrimp soup, Marinated shellfish (cockles or mussels), vinaigrette, mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, guacamole, curries, eggplant caviar
Store in a cool, dry place away from light and moisture