Guest Author - Jason Hodge
I took a trip to one of my favorite places online to research my new find, Google; and I unearthed a slew of ideas and applications for the SE Asian cilantro. It's proper Vietnamese name is rau ram, but it's recognized as Vietnamese mint, Vietnamese cilantro, Cambodian mint and hot mint as well as several other names, depending on the referring culture.
I found a pretty good coriander thread on Chowhound where it talked about applications everywhere from salads to mojitos, fruit pairings to, one that I more than likely will never try, raw meat. As I searched other sites and communities I found that the applications to imagination ratio were neck and neck.
This brings me down to my own conundrum... How will I use my new foodie find? I'll have to share the love, of course! Will probably have to invest in several more plants to keep from over taxing this one; but, I see a rich future of soups & stews, salads, desserts [yes, I know] - frozen and hot, appetizers, palate cleansers, sweet and savory pies, even candies and beverages. Okay... now you've got my wheels turning and I think I'll have to, at some point, have a Vietnamese coriander inspired event [already had a garlic inspired one], where each course has to feature the main ingredient.
Amidst all of my food ramblings I hope you get inspired to try something new. It'll not only build your culinary repertoire, it'll also build a stronger offering for your client base, and create a unique niche for your business.
If you haven't already, take a trip to your local, or not-so-local, organics supportive nursery and discover what new and interesting things they've got to offer your culinary experiences. You'll learn a lot, you and your clients will benefit immensely, and, if you approach it the right way, you'll develop great professional friendships with your growers and suppliers. That last one is golden!
Stop by my Facebook personal chef page, my Twitter feed, or YouTube and engage. Leave your comments, video responses, and/or tweets on how you use this or any other unique ingredients. I'll be featuring more Vietnamese coriander resources and content in my communities this week. Check them out!
To your success and the growth of your culinary rolodex!