Scent of Hometown: Limnophila aromatica or Rice Paddy Plant or Finger grass

There are only few aromatic plants that remind you about things in the past or symbolize something. To most people, there could be a scent of jasmine, Thai ice tea, lemongrass or incense sticks that remind them of Thailand. To me, one of those meaningful scent of the past is Rice Paddy Plant!

The Rice Paddy Plant is called differently in each countries. In Thai language as well, it has more than 6 names. (Phak Ga Yang, Phak Pha, Phak Ka Yang, Phak Ga Om, Ma om, etc…)

In Thailand, we used this kind of plant in a fish in clear sour soup to get rid of the fishy smell. When I was young and lived with my mom far away from town. Those memories were still clear in my head. My favorite cousin (who later turn into monkshood) used to take me and my brother to see my mom and his mom in the rice field, 5 Kilometers on foot.  On his shoulders, he carried a basket which is full of food. It is supposed to be our moms’ lunch. My cousin is 10 years older than us, that’s why he’s the one had to carry the heavy stuff. As a little kid, we were only asked to carry sticky rice.

Three of us walking along the rice field ridge. Some part is not connect, I am not sure why. Anyway, I guess it is because of my cousin loved us so much, he loves to make us laugh by doing so many silly things. Thing like pretending to be caught on his foot and fall. On that same day too, he definitely wanted to make us laugh but bad of luck he drop all the food he carried. We managed to collect most of the dry food back into the food box. As you all can guess, he got yelled by his mom.

Wait for a second, we are so lucky being born in a farmer family. No one had to walk 5Kms. back to make new food and come back. Letting all of the hungry farmers behind was not right! At the rice field, we had some cooking utensils – just for when the emergency situation happened like this case. Cooking food at the field, fresh fish from the farm, salt, tamarind leaves, lemongrass, shallot, rice paddy plant and chilies will do just fine. Those ingredients were fresh from our own veggies plantation. 🙂

OMG! (>_<) Those memories are so precious to me. Things were so happy back then when I get to stay with mom. This was a few year before I have to moved to my aunt’s for school at 7 years old and lived with her. It was really sad the day dad dropped me off. I didn’t cry because dad bribed me with food I like…hahaha and never in my life, I discuss how my brother felt on that day. I am thankful to my aunts for taking me though… if not, I would have had married at 12? 15? like the other girls in the village and never have chance to go to university.

Life in Baan Nok (countryside) is really special. Back then, everything was so pure. Things changed now, but I really hope you had a chance to leave a big city behind and live a quite life in Thailand countryside someday. 🙂

Fish and Sour Soup Tom Som Pla