Cha-om – ชะอม

‘Cha-om’ is how we call this small greenish leave with little thorny stalks in standard Thai language. In the northeast dialect, we call them Pag- Kha or ผ้กขา. I cannot find the English name for it. Their scientific name is Acacia Pennata L. They belong to the tribe of Leguminosae or Mimosasae. They are widely cultivated across the country and South East Asia. There are two type of Cha-om, one with thorn and one without, but it seems we prefer the thorny one for cooking. On the country side we also eat them raw with Papaya Salad or Chili Sauce. There are hundred recipes throughout the country on how to cook or eat them. This half climber plant is not spreading wild (I have never seen their flowers develop seeds!), but once you plant them and they are established, it will be really hard to kill them, because of their persistent root. I have one bush in the garden and despite cutting them down to the ground several times, they still develop new branches.


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