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Betal Leaf Pepper - Piper sarmentosum

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Description: Betal Leaf Pepper - Piper sarmentosum

Vegetable pepper is a perennial, creeping plant growing up to about 60cm. The leaves are dark green and glossy and oval-shaped with a pointed tip and have small white flowers that occur in little rounded spikes. It also goes by the names wild pepper, Cha plu in Thailand, La lot in Vietnam and various other names throughout Asia like the betel leaf plant. Although commonly called Betel leaves in Australia, we have always called it vegetable pepper to identify it from Betel pepper the leaves of which are chewed with lime and the fruit/nut from the betel palm.

Cooking

The leaves which have a spicy peppery taste can be cooked like spinach and used as a vegetable or can be shredded and added to soups stews and stir-fries at the end of cooking to give a subtle peppery flavour. Raw Vegetable Pepper leaves can also be torn or shredded into salads and are particularly nice in rice salad. The leaves are also used to wrap small pieces of food. In Thailand, cha plu is used to wrap raw ginger, peanuts, shrimps, shallots and lime to make delicious small snacks. The Vietnamese use la lot to wrap small amounts of minced meat, which are then fried in oil.