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Often erroneously referred to as betel leaf (Piper betel), which is the traditional wrapping for the masticatory stimulant known as paan in India, Cha plu P. sarmentosum however, is known only for its gastronomic qualities.

The heart shaped leaves, which are 100 to 150 mm from base to tip, are much finer and have a glossy appearance in comparison to the betel leaf. It has numerous uses in Southeast Asian cuisine, the most common of which to travel to the west is as an edible wrapping for snacks. This Thai preparation is simple enough, just take a highly seasoned, savoury filling, usually pork or seafood, enclose in a cha plu leaf and eat the whole parcel. It is also used as a salad leaf in Laos, while in Malaysia it is added to an herb mixture called ulam.

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