Celebrating Two Year Anniversary of Weekend Herb Blogging

Weekend Herb Blogging is 2 years old! And to celebrate this great event, our lovely founder, Kalyn, has asked us to prepare a doubly delicious post – a combination of vegetables and herbs we like best. For this, I have prepared a dish that presents my favorite combination of herbs and vegetables from Vietnamese cuisine… I won´t tell you the names now (scroll down for the intro), but it is a green and purple combo.

Firstly, let us start with the green part. I guess most of you are unfamiliar with taro stems

Taro Stem

As the name suggested, this long stem is from taro plant. I have blogged about taro tuber here and here. Now it is time for another edible part from the plant, which is my favorite childhood veg. Taro stem has a very special crunchiness which is the result of the `bubble´ net as seen in this photo:

Taro Stem

Cooking taro stems is quite tricky since if it is not done properly, you may have an itchy throat in the end. In Vietnam, the taro stems are peeled then given a salt treatment, which eliminates this risk. After being prepared thoroughly, taro stems can be enjoyed in soup, salad and stir-fry.

I have used taro stems in a rather untraditional way for a northern Vietnamese girl. I cook it in a fish noodle soup. The broth here has light sourness from tamarind paste, and with the crunchiness of taro stems, it is a truly refreshing dish.

Fish Noodle Soup with Taro Stems and Herbs

But wait, where is my herb? You see, the Vietnamese believe that fish noodle soup must be accompanied by a plate full of fresh herbs. This can be varied based on what is available, but we can normally see shredded lettuce, mint, thai basil. And for me, it will not be complete with this beautiful purple herb – the purple perilla (also known as beefsteak leaves). This particular herb has such a strong aroma, which makes a perfect accompaniment to any seafood dishes.

Purple Perilla

As for the recipe, I really don´t have any since I forgot to measure the quantity when cooking this. Nevertheless, I am running through a step-by-step preparation so if you want, you can try this at home. (Trust me, once you prepared the taro stems, the rest is super easy).

To prepare taro stems

Wash thoroughly then peel the outer skins.

Cut into pieces of 1 inch each.

Wearing a pair of food-grade gloves, add a generous amount of salt to the taro stem pieces. With your hand, squeeze the pieces until the volume of these pieces reduced by 1/3. Rinse through water and drain.

Then, you need to stir-fry these taro stem pieces with oil, tomato wedges (from 1 tomato) and seasoned with fish sauce. First stir-fry the tomato until very soft, add taro stem and fish sauce. Keep stirring until the taro stem is cooked through and well-seasoned.

Preparing Taro Stems

The broth

Make a light chicken stock by boiling chicken bones with some ginger and spring onion. Discard the bones, ginger and onion in the end.

The Noodles

Choose Rice Vermicelli. Prepare according to packet direction, set aside.

The fish

I used flathead since it has lovely flavours, but you can choose your fav white fish fillet.

Marinade fish fillet (500g) with 1 tbsp of good quality fish sauce and 1 tsp of minced shallot. Set aside.

Close to serving, fry the fish fillets in little oil until cooked through. Keep warm.

The herb plates

Finely shred lettuce leaves (the curly varieties are recommended) and Asian herbs (choose from laksa leaves, Thai basil, coriander, and of course purple perilla if you can get it).

Final preparation

Heat up the chicken broth. Add in the taro stem mixture. Season to taste with salt, pepper and tamarind paste. The soup should be lightly sour and well-seasoned.

Arrange the rice vermicelli in a warm bowl. Arrange the fish on top, ladle the hot soup over.

Serve immediately with the herb plate.

How to eat

Put the herb in your hot soup bowl and enjoy the noodles!

Fish Noodle Soup with Taro Stems and Herbs


I hope you guys aren´t bored with the lengthy post. You all can see more glorious fruit, vegs, herbs and all at the round up over at Kalyn´s Kitchen next Monday. Kalyn will also announce the favourite herbs and vegetables of this year, as voted by food bloggers around the globe. An event not to be missed!

Also, Ed from Tomatom is organizing a banquet for Melbourne food bloggers in mid November. Check out this post for more details if you are in the area around this time!

55 Responses to Celebrating Two Year Anniversary of Weekend Herb Blogging

  1. Kalyn says:

    What a fantastic post! I knew you would come up with something wonderful. I haven’t seen either the vegetable or the herb before, so I am doubly excited to be learning two new things! And of course great photos as always. Thanks for participating in the two year celebration!

  2. Sharmi says:

    very informative post Anh! I learned about a lot of new veggies.

  3. Lydia says:

    Once again I have learned about something completely new to me — and thank you for the beautiful photos, too.

  4. Lapa says:


  5. Eva says:

    What a wonderful dish that includes lots of stuff I’ve got no clue about! Just as the saying goes: “Learn something new every day!” So good to know that something tasty can also be good for you..;-)

  6. Anh says:

    Kalyn, first of all, congratulations on the 2nd birthday of WHB! And thanks so much for your sweet comment… We all learn a lot from each other through this wonderful blogging event!

  7. Truffle says:

    I’ve never seen taro photographed so beautifully. Outstanding post Anh!

  8. katiez says:

    I love reading about foods I’m unfamiliar with! That herb looks very intriguing and the whole dish wonderful! I’ll have to change hemispheres to try it, though, I think! I could do that…

  9. Wandering Chopsticks says:

    I’m confused? Why is adding bac ha and fish unusual? It’s canh chua! :P

  10. Great Big Veg Challenge says:

    This is so beautifully done – written and presented. I learnt a great deal. Taro stems have not appeared in my radar yet but I will look out for them.

  11. Nabeela says:

    what an interesting flavor combination! I LOVE fresh herbs and lime/lemon/sour tang in my soups too! I guess I am part asian ;)

  12. Asha says:

    WOW!! I am not familiar with both of them. Great combo of flavors!:))

  13. Happy Homebaker says:

    Anh, what a lovely post! Your photos are stunning! Even though I have not tried taro stems, but from your dishes you have created, I am sure they taste delicious! Great job!

  14. veron says:

    This fish noodle soup sounds so appetizing now that the weather has dipped to the 50s! I do love putting herbs in my soup too.

  15. Mishmash ! says:

    everything new to me…thanks for this post…btw that curls and bows with taro stem skin is utterly beautiful :)

  16. Deborah says:

    You have just introduced me to two new things! I have never tried either of these, and the dish sounds so wonderful! And gorgeous photos, as always!

  17. Belinda says:

    Anh, I am completely unfamiliar with taro, but I find it fascinating to learn about new foods, so I enjoyed reading this post very much. :-) And beautiful photos, as always!

  18. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen says:

    This sounds great Anh! Taro stem is really beautiful. This sounds like a very wonderful soup! Well worthy of these anniversary celebrations!

  19. Oh for the love of food! says:

    Your photos are simply awesome, Anh, and what a great post!

  20. Sylvia says:

    This dish is absolutely gorgeous.And I learn so much with your post.The photos are lovely too. Awesome job ,Anh

  21. Wendy says:

    Mammoth post! Loved it. Slightly scared by the itchy throat sensation though. How bizarre!!

  22. Blue Zebra says:

    Anh I love reading your posts because I learn so much! :D Never boring when you are being taught!!! :D

  23. maninas: food matters says:

    love the photos!

  24. winedeb says:

    I so enjoy your blog Anh as you come up with very “differnt” types of food and I thank you for this education. So fun to see what is “out there” on this great planet of ours!

  25. Anh says:

    Truffle, thanks.
    . I know this combo is very poopular in southern Vietnam. For me, growing up in the north, I normally associate bac ha (or doc mung) with a noddle soup with pork and pork ball. Bun Doc Mung, have you heard about it?

  26. Amy says:

    Great post! I’ve never had taro root before but I’d love to try that fish noodle soup! Yum!

  27. Wandering Chopsticks says:


  28. Kelly Mahoney says:

    This was so informative! I’ve never worked with those before, thanks for the tips.

  29. HolyBasil says:

    very interesting use of bac ha! sounds delicious. i’ve only eaten as part of canh chua. I hope to try this sometime.

  30. Figs Olives Wine says:

    How could anyopne be bored by such an exquisite post!? I love Taro root, so it’s wondreful to learn about the stalks, and a bowl of fresh fish soup with a side of fresh herbs sounds like fragrant, rejuvenating heaven!

  31. Cynthia says:

    I’ve learnt so much form this post. I really like hanging out here.

  32. bee says:

    wow, anh, i didn’t know taro stems were edible. and your pics are glorious, as always.

  33. Eva says:

    Anh, you’re so right and I’m so sorry – these days it’s more like getting something into my stomach than creating wonderful things in the kitchen. I hope to do more post-worthy things soon…

  34. FindingLaDolceVita says:

    Your photos are the bomb!

  35. Anh says:

    Amy, these are taro stems my dear. The taro root is the normal tube veg we normally see!

  36. eatme_delicious says:

    I had no idea there was such a thing as taro stems! How intriguing.

  37. valentinA says:

    Wow!!! The taro stems we’ve got in Mauritius aren’t such of a nice colour as yours but they’re really good! The only annoying thing is that they make your hands itchy!

  38. holybasil says:

    Hi Anh,

  39. Mona says:

    Hi Anh! Came to know about some very new ingredients like taro stems, and the herb thru this very nicely explained post of yours, never ever had heard about earlier. Will try it in this cold weether at my place someday. Thanks

  40. tigerfish says:

    Wow! I’m learning something new on taro stems :D …and it seems such a comforting meal.

  41. Kate says:

    Its really nice so see such a wonderful and informative post. I have never seen either of these two items before , and you have done a wonderful job of showing n telling us about these veggies.

  42. Elle says:

    This looks so delicious Ahn! I love the idea of the fresh herbs with the cooked taro and broth.

  43. neil says:

    I love fish soups of any persuasion and using a vegetable that if not properly prepared, adds to the excitement! Looks lovely.

  44. East Meets West Kitchen says:

    Very interesting and tasty soup!

  45. Kevin says:

    Both the taro stems and the purple perilla are new to me. The bowl of soup looks really good.

  46. maybahay says:

    sounds absolutely delish, anh. i love sour soups and although i haven’t tried taro stems, i am sure the crunchiness adds a lot to the soup. very informative and interesting post.

  47. lynn says:

    Your pictures are so lovely! I swear you could make a puddle of mud look delicious.

  48. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Anh, sweetie!

  49. Retno Prihadana says:

    What a good combination dish! very interesting.

  50. Cris says:

    Congratulations Anh! I have learned so much here! Wish I could join you for this dinner. This post is so informative, love the pictures as well.

  51. ilingc says:

    Anh, I love coming to your blog and discovering new vegetables and herbs that are unknown to me. I’m so ignorant of taro stems it’s not funny. Love taro the root vege though. Thanks for an informative post :)

  52. Peabody says:

    Wow, so many ingredients I have never worked with…I’m intrigued.

  53. Anonymous says:


  54. [...] – Or how about a fish noodle soup with taro stalks? [...]

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