Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sawtooth Coriander

Sawtooth coriander goes by many names and is native to Central America.  The three most common name for this leafy herb plant is "Sawtooth Coriander" (since the edges all around the leaf has a serrated saw pattern), "Mexican Coriander" or "Culantro".  In Thai, it is called "Pak Chi Farang". It's scientific name is Eryngium foetidum. It is extremely fragrant and smells stronger than the normal coriander. It grows well in full sun, hot and humid weather. The fresh leaves are picked and used to flavour curries, soups, stews, rice and fish dishes. Like most herb plants, besides the culinary uses, it also has medicinal values.

I got this plant from my sister (who got it from her neighbour).  I have not seen the seeds being sold anywhere.  My sister's neighbour got the seeds from Thailand.  As you can see from the picture, the leaves grows directly from the root, there are no stems.  After the plant has matured, a long stem will grow right in the centre and there will be flowers at the end of this stem.  Once it has adapted to its surrounding, this plant multiples and spreads really fast.  I took back one plant and now I have five, which I think is  a little too slow  at spreading.  I will have to re-pot one or two of this plant to encourage more growth. The photo above is the mother plant in this little family of five!

This photo was taken about 4 days ago.

This photo taken this morning, the same plant!  The flower is growing!

View from the top!

See the jagged saw-like edges round the leaves.  It's name certainly fits it very well.  Surprisingly, this variety is not known to many people, it can hardly be found in any market.  I usually use it when I have steam fish for dinner.  I have yet to try it in curries.  Will definitely do so as soon as there are many more plants and leaves! Do you know of this plant?  If you have seen or eaten this before, please share with us your method of cooking in using the leaves.

Will update on the flower when it blooms!

Happy Gardening !


  1. Hey the flower looks like green rose ;-) Nice! Thanks for the photos.

  2. This is new to me. The flower is nice. I would like to increase my herb collection at a later stage.

  3. I never seen or heard about sawtooth coriander before! green flower? that's amazing!

  4. New to me. Really like a saw, green saw! The way they grow, they resemble pineapples without any real stem... until they are ready to flower and produce fruit. ~bangchik

  5. wow~ i never see this kind of herb before... what does it taste like? does it taste like coriander as the name ?

  6. I have never seen this plant before. I have not even heard of the name. Wow, a coriander with saw tooth! Does it taste like coriander? If you have seeds, I'll be the first person to beg you for it. The green flower is very special and unique. Definitely a treasure to have in the garden. Cheers!

  7. Hi Stephanie,
    Yes, it does look like green rose!

    Hi One,
    To increase your herb collection is a great idea! I would love to do the same, but space is the problem! Will be glad to give some seeds or plants of sawtooth coriander when I have more of this!

    Hi Malar,
    This is indeed one amazing plant!

    Hi Bangchik,
    This is one unique plant with a unique name!

    Hi Carol,
    It is slightly stronger than coriander and very fragrant.

    Hi Autumn Belle,
    He! He! Will let you know when I can distribute the seeds and plants. Hopefully they spread soon, I have a waiting list...!!

  8. Hi Kitchen Flavour, I have Sawtooth Coriander in my garden too. You are right, not many people know this plant. It's popular in Thailand. It can be eaten raw by adding it into your salad or just use it as alternative for coriander. That's what we usually do.

    If you want to buy sawtooth coriander in bunches, you can visit Wat Chetawan Buddhist Temple in PJ (along Jalan Gasing) on Sundays from morning till late noon (about 4pm). There are many Thai vendors (yup, they drove all the way from Thailand) who sells various kind of herbs, vegies, groceries and even street food outside the temple. They sell this herbs in bunches similar to our coriander sold in our market. Many Thais in Klang Valley visit these vendors to get their supply of Thai cooking ingredients.

  9. Hi JC
    Thank you so much for the info. Will definitely visit the Thai vendors one of these Sundays! Hopefully they sell the seeds! It would be interesting to see what they have.

  10. Hi dear, Where have you been? Busy cooking something wonderful and irresistible? You missed my posting on K9 2 days ago. He was my pet's son. Born on 09.09.09. Adopted 9 months ago and came for a visit today.

    Seeds exchange would be nice...

  11. Yup, definitely missed out on your posting! Such a nice date to remember! Hey, did you buy any TOTO 6D??? ^..^

  12. Other names for Sawtooth Coriander are Bandanya, Chadon Beni or Shadow Benny as it is called is a very pungent and poweful herb used as seasoning. It’s delicious and is used for everything in Trinidad dishes. I am from Guyana and I have plants in my yard, once you get one plant after mature you will get plenty of plants after the seed falls on the ground

  13. how can i know how their sprouts must be look?