What's this herb? I'm floundering.
June 7, 2009 2:59 PM   Subscribe

It's green, it grows, it tastes like fish. What is it and what can I do with it?

I was picking up choi and herbs at a Chinese green grocers a couple of days ago, and I was offered this plant to try. The owner couldn't tell me what its English name was, and I forgot to ask what the herb is typically used for, so here I am.

The plant smells faintly of fish, and definitely tastes like a combination of mild whitefish and generic greenstuff. I was thinking it would go well in any recipe where I would use fish sauce, but if you have any other ideas, or if this is more of a medicinal herb than a cooking herb, let me know.
posted by maudlin to Food & Drink (5 answers total)
Best answer: I can't help with the recipe, but it looks very much like a Houttuynia to me.
posted by Solomon at 3:08 PM on June 7, 2009

Response by poster: Nine minutes between post and identification. Wow. And I think I will definitely keep this in a pot.

Any recipe ideas would also be great.
posted by maudlin at 3:19 PM on June 7, 2009

Response by poster: (Oh my God. Read these stories. It sounds like the gardener's version of Gremlins. Maybe I'll just use all the leaves in this little pot in a recipe RIGHT NOW ...)
posted by maudlin at 3:29 PM on June 7, 2009

Floundering. Heh.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:13 PM on June 7, 2009

Best answer: As a medicinal herb the chinese use this to clear "heat toxins" and "damp heat". This translates to being useful for treating swelling and abscesses, particularly lung abscesses. Also may help with urinary infections and bacterial diarrhea. Antimicrobial activity against Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus (the freash juice is used). It is frequently useful in cases of bacterial pneumonia.
posted by pointilist at 8:54 AM on June 8, 2009

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