Various recipes using Piper Lolot

Thứ năm, 04/09/2014 15:07

Saigonese use piper lolot only for grilled beef, but Chef Cong Ngoc Do from Hai Dang Plaza in Hai Phong City stated that he make makes 50 dishes using it.

A medicine

Piper lolot is in the pepper family but is grown wildly and is available in many places throughout Vietnam. Vietnamese people use piper lolot as a spice for either cooking meals or as a Chinese medicine to drink for treatment of bone pain, arthritis, rheumatism, sweaty hands and feet and diarrhea. You can use 5 to 10 gram of dried leaves or 15 to 30 gram of fresh leaves to cook with water then drink 2 or 3 times per day.

A recipe for making a drink to treat diseases like bone pain is as follows: piper lolot, grapefruit root, “cây vòi voi” root (scientific name Heliotropium indicum) and “cây cỏ xước” root (scientific name Achyranthes aspera). All of these should be used when they are fresh. Slice them into thin strips and pan fry. 15 gram of each dried leaves and roots. Then boil in 600 ml water and until it is reduced to 200ml only. Drink three times per day.

Dr. PhD. Loi Tat Do

The dish is for autumn

There are a lot of oysters in Do Son beach and Cat Ba Island. These are considered cold food by the Vietnamese. It is therefore good to cook them with piper lolot which is considered hot, in order to balance these elements.

Do Ngoc Cong isn’t a stranger to the Golden Spoon Contest as the young chef took his favorite dish, made from Do Son buffalo meat through to the final. Chef Cong wanted to convince the board of judges so he brought more new dishes from Hai Phong to Ha Long to compete. Meals like Do Son buffalo tongue and soup made from fresh oysters and piper lolot.

Look at the menu of Chef Cong, Food artisan Chiem Thanh Long, General director of Binh Quoi restaurants, reminded everyone many times that they should try to find out the reason that piper lolot was used a lot by people living along the Red River. It is not only eaten raw or grilled but also used as an interesting spice.

When someone asked Chef Cong that why he used piper lolot he just smiled and said that it was because the theme of the contest was “Home taste in the times of reunification”. He brought whatever was famous in his hometown to the contest. There are a lot of oysters in Do Son beach and Cat Ba Island. These are considered cold food by the Vietnamese. It is therefore good to cook them with piper lolot which is considered hot, in order to balance these elements.

“Adding a little bit of ginger, pepper and chili will create a delicious meal that is good for your health. This year I wasn’t successful because I didn’t bring enough medicinal ingredients to highlight the nutritional element. This is one of the criteria of the Golden Spoon Contest. So I have spent more time studying this.”

Oysters from the Northern Bay are fat and have more flesh than those from Southern waters. Chef Cong removed the flesh and put it on ice as he prepared the piper lolot. According to him, whichever dishes he made he always poaches it with salted water then plunged them into cold water to keep the green of the leaves.

This also softens the leaves so they are not too crispy to roll with the other ingredients. This also prevents it getting burned when grilling it. The disadvantage though, is of doing this way is the piper lolot will lose its typical good aroma.

It is autumn now and it’s getting colder so Chef Cong explained that a little bit of piper lolot should be added to seafood to balance the elements and prevent any stomach problems. He said that he can make 40 to 50 dishes with this leaf, such as cake, stir-fries with other ingredients, stewed dishes or deep fried, which is also a very interesting flavor.

“Soup cooked with “Sá Sùng”, a kind of sea worm (scientific Sipunculus nudus) is one of the best dishes that you can imagine,” said Chef Cong, who also introduced about his new dish from his hometown. The team was very professionally turned out.

Modern Medicinal Dishes

International candidates

There were three teams selected to go through to the semi-final in the North from the preliminary round for the Red River region. First prize was awarded to the Hai Dang Plaza team and two second prizes to the Saigon Ha Long team from Quang Ninh province and Novotel Ha Long team from Quang Ninh

The interesting thing about this round was the attendance of the Thai Chef Sonmuk Attaworn from Novotel Halong team

He said, “Using ingredients from Halong is an advantage. The seafood there is extremely fresh and delicious. I didn’t cook it too much and only added a little bit of spices to retain the original taste of the food. It is the best way to cook this dish.”

This Chef has more than 20 year experience and he has studied Vietnam cuisine for 14 years.

Discussing with the judges as to why people living along Red River Delta love piper lolot through up an interesting discussion. Food expert Long Thanh Chiem said that arriving Hai Phong you will see that people use the leaves to wrap pork cake. This is then fried before adding it into rice noodle soup cooked with freshwater crabs; it is really delicious. If you explore other foods, you will see local people have about seven dishes using “con sam” (scientific name Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda) and all of them included piper lolot. If you look further you will see almost hundred percent of all the soups in Hai contain piper lolot. It is very interesting.

The researcher Suong Thi Bui seems a little bit hesitant, because using piper lolot in most of the dishes is still quite new to her. She said she needed to go home and check Professor Do Tat Loi’s book to understand all the values of it before continuing the discussion. She wanted to be sure that using piper lolot to balance the elements of was correct, before commenting.

She said that in the Central regions like Nha Trang, Binh Dinh and Quang Ngai people cooked sweet and sour soup with coriander and piper lolot, instead of Floating enhydra as in the South.

Master Chef Dong Quang Long, head chef of De Nhat Hotel, also said that he usually cooked many dishes with piper lolot; dishes like stewed pork with banana or goat hotpot.

But Chef Long, creator of the famous dish made of coconut root, said that although he cooked dishes with piper lolot leaves, most of them are modified and don’t have typical taste of any region. In the South creek premna leaves are used more common than piper lolot and it has the same properties.

Another point shared by Mrs Bui Thi Suong was that there are more medicinal gardens in the North more than in the South. There are also more foods artisans working on researching the effects of food which have medicinal values than in the South, where most of people prefer to enjoy their food, without considering such things.

She said: ”I think that this dish could be a traditional medicine that has been passed down from people’s ancestors in the Red River Delta area. It is similar to the way people in Hanoi love to eat fried eggs mixed with wormwood. Although it has a strange taste and is difficult to eat for people outside the regions, it is a favorite dish to Hanoi people because of the health benefits”

The discussion among the judges remained unfinished. They decided to do more research on this subject and will give their answers in the next contest in Lao Cai Province, the Vietnamese cuisine map will be drawn.

However, before closing the discussion Chef Long Thanh Chiem still said that upon returning to Saigon tomorrow he would buy some piper lolot to make a stir-fried beef.

Followed by Tran Nguyen- Phi Nguyen
The Gioi Tiep Thi magazine

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