Friday, August 26, 2011

Ngo Om aka Rice Paddy Herb

Have you ever heard of Ngo Om?  I discovered this through my Mom, of course.... most of my cooking is based on what I grew up with.  But I have never been able to grow this herb.  And it has a ridiculously short shelf life in the fridge.  So every time I wanted to cook with it I would have to make a special trip to the Asian market. And while there is a new one approx 8 miles away, the good one is 17 miles away (I know because it is pretty near the hubs office). So each and every trip to the Asian grocery is a "special" trip.

So I am trying one more time to try and grow this herb.  My Mom looked at me like I was wacky when I told her I had trouble growing it.  She said she just sticks it in the ground and viola... growing. So I hopped on the Internet and figured out why it's voila for her and grumble for me.... humidity.  We have heat out the wazoo here, but dry, dry, dry.....

After reading the article, I emulated the author and potted up my ngo om  I had been rooting.  Ngo om is commonly called Rice Paddy herb, since I guess it grows best in the moist soil of a rice paddy. The fragrance is a mix of citrus/cilantro and just something I cannot describe. I have heard that some describe it as a sweet cumin in taste.

So I had purchased some right before our trip to SF a  couple of weeks ago and plonked some of the hardier looking stems in a full cup of water before leaving. A leap of faith that it would be OK during the week we were away and wouldn't attract bugs. And as you can see, it rooted well.  This part of the growing process usually goes pretty well. It's the part when I put it in soil that they just give up.

So I selected a few of the better rooted ones and put two in each container of soil. Bagged it all up, poked holes for ventilation and now I'm hoping for the best.

My finished product.  I hope this works! According to the author of the website above, you never have to water the plant again. I hope I have to re-pot to bigger pots in a few weeks!

Happy gardening!


  1. Never heard of it. How do you use it? Btw, what are those pots? Anything special about them? How do you bag them?

  2. I have given up in growing some of the Asian herbs from seeds. So how did it goes, any luck in getting them to take root in soil?

  3. RG - I use it in a bamboo soup that I make. I usually toss it in at the last minute to give the soup a fresh zing of flavor. I want to try it in a laarb salad next. Next time I make the bamboo dish, I'll post it.

    As far as the post and bags, nope, nothing special. Regular recycled pots that I purchased seedlings in and a grocery store vegetable bag. Hope this works!

    Mac - I have had really poor success at some of the herbs, especially from seed. But I am wondering if it can all be attributed to humidity. I am retrying vietnamese coriander (saw tooth coriander) in a bag, if it works I will post and let you know. So far the ones I potted up in the soil seem to be fine. But I'll check back in a few weeks.

  4. I'm glad I'm not the only one whose cuttings take root in water and then die the minute their feet hit the soil!!! Good luck with these....x

    1. Make sure when you transfer them to soil do not leave them in direct sunlight and soil should never be dry since they thrive in high humidity. You can never over water these plants.

    2. When I said " you can never over water these plants" I meant that it will not hurt them if you over water them.

  5. Has anyone bought rooted Limnophilia aromatica from aquaculture landscape supply and used in cooking as rice paddy herb?

  6. I bought from aquaculture landscape supply and it turned out not to be the right plant.
    "duy" is on the right track after you have rooted store bought rice paddy herb from the Asian grocer, don't put it back into direct sunlight. Give the freshly planted cutting a chance to aclimate and then back to sunlight. I can't seem to find seeds. Most say if you can get the plant to flower, any seed will be sterile. I am going to let the plant grow and root cutting next. Film to follow.