Manor Farm Herbs
Manor Farm
Fringford
Bicester
Oxfordshire OX27 8DP

Thai mint

Mentha arvensis 'Thai'

Height:
Up to 50cm with a spreading habit
Suitable for:
Rich soil in sun or partial shade, growing in containers.
Thai mint: Mentha arvensis 'Thai'

This is a really attractive hardy mint with dark green leaves and striking dark red stems. Pick it fresh for the best and fullest flavour.

Like all mints it spreads by runners, so make sure it is planted where it cannot invade other plants. It also grows successfully in large pots and containers, ensure that it is growing in a good rich soil and is kept moist at all times.

Regular harvesting of the stems will encourage plenty of new fresh shoots from the base of the plants, as the fresh young leaves are the most delicious to use, especially in salads.

Like many other mints, Thai mint leaves can be chewed as a breath freshener and a tea brewed from the fresh leaves is beneficial for stomach problems.

Thai cuisine is increasingly popular, and this mint, known in Thailand as Bae Saranae, is a key ingredient in many recipes along with Thai basil. Many salad recipes are based on minced beef or pork so it makes a nice change to try a vegetarian option.

Thai Quinoa Salad with a spicy dressing

Serves 4

Quinoa is now a readily available grain in all major supermarkets and a good source of protein. Once cooked it can be cooled and mixed with fresh herbs and salad ingredients for a healthy and filling meal.

  • 175g quinoa
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 red or yellow pepper
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1 large carrot
  • 4 heaped tbs finely chopped Thai mint
  • plus extra leaves for garnish

For the dressing:

  • 4 tbs lime juice
  • 3 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbs unflavoured oil such as vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 2 tbs caster sugar
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes

Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions. Drain well and leave to cool in a sieve whilst you prepare the salad vegetables.

Halve the cucumber lengthways and scrape out the seeds, cut into bite sized dice.
Remove the seeds from the pepper and cut into small strips.
Finely slice the spring onion, using as much of the green part as possible.
Peel the carrot and grate coarsely.

Add the prepared vegetables to a serving bowl, mix in the quinoa and the chopped Thai mint.
Put all of the dressing ingredients into a small jar, screw on the lid tightly and shake until the sugar is dissolved.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad and combine all the ingredients.
Garnish with a few whole mint leaves before serving.

If you want to prepare the salad in advance, leave the dressing in the jar and mix in as you serve.