Cha plu leaves are another ingredient we are lucky to have available to us at Southeast Asian markets. It is a mild flavored leaf that is well-suited for making wraps, as it is generally enjoyed in Thailand and in Laos where it is known as cha plu leaf. (ใบชะพลู)
Many mistake this for another leaf used by many in South and Southeast Asia to wrap the areca nut and called “betel leaf“ are used as a wrapper in the dish ‘Mieng Kham’. This is a traditional Thai dish, containing an assortment of fillings, like peanuts, shrimps, shallots with lime and raw ginger. Bai Cha Plu has been seen all over Asia, from South to the East. Similar to the Thai Betel edible leaf, but not as bitter. If you are making Mieng, substitute any mild flavour leaf for Fish Mint. Real Thai Recipes suggests to replace either the lettuce or Chinese Broccoli. Thai Bai Plu Cha is also shredded up as one of the vegetables in a Thai rice dish ‘Kao Yum’. Alternatively, for an Asian twist on a traditional English dish, use this leaf for meals like soups and salads.
The leaves are used to wrap up as a snack, known as “Miang Kham” and are commonly used as vegetables in curry. (local food in the north) has properties as an expectorant, expels wind and helps moisten the throat.
Chaplu leaves are available year-round.