Going Green and Gotu Kola

“It is incredible to see all the participation in the campaigns, but it is not enough. We need every single person on the planet to understand the real threats of climate change and commit to being part of the solution.”

-Hong Hoang

Happy June and happy Fruit and Vegetables Month! Today, we’d like to highlight Vietnam’s Hong Hoang and her important work in bringing climate change to the forefront of discussions in Asia. Hoang began her career as a traveling journalist, and promptly quit and pursued environmental activism after she observed the pure, fragile landscape of Antarctica. In fact, she was the first Vietnamese person to ever set foot on the continent.

Today, Hoang is the East/Southeast Coordinator for 350.org, an international environmentalist organization that coordinates large movements and campaigns, both physical and online, against the use of fossil fuels. Hoang primarily works with the youth in Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

This month, we’d like to focus on the plain and simple fresh produce that Mother Nature has to offer by turning your attention to gotu kola (sometimes referred to as “brahmi”). It is a sprawling plant that thrives in warm, humid environments, with small round leaves and delicate petite flowers. It has a lettuce-like, slightly sweet taste. Today, it is commonly sold throughout most Asian countries as salad leaves, juices, or incorporated into a variety of dishes, including side salads and curries.

Gotu Kola Smoothie:


A bunch of gotu kola

2 tablespoons of chia bran

1 kiwi fruit

Lemon to taste


Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Gotu Kola Curry:


¼ cup split yellow mung beans

2.5 cups tightly packed gotu kola leaves

¼ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp pepper

1 tsp salt

1 ½ cup water

⅓ cup grated coconut (to grind)

2 red chilies (to grind)

2 tbsp cumin powder

1 tsp pepper corns

3-5 tsp water

For Tempering:

2 tsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp red lentils

1 tsp black lentils

⅓ cup minced onion


1. Wash the split yellow mung beans . Add to a pressure cooker along with turmeric powder and 1 ½ cups of water. Let cool and mash well.

2. Wash the gotu kola, remove stems, and chop finely.

3. Grind coconut, red chilies, cumin seeds, pepper corns, and water together to make a paste. Set aside.

4. Heat pan and oil. Once hot, add mustard seeds, red and black lentils, gotu kola, salt and pepper. Mix well.

5. Once they start to crackle, add onion, cover and cook for about 5 minutes.

6. Add mashed split yellow mung beans and ground paste. Mix well.

7. Add salt to taste. Bring to boil.

8. Serve hot over rice.

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*Cauffield, Jacintha S., and Hiroko Jm Forbes. "Dietary supplements used in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders." Lippincott's primary care practice 3, no. 3 (1999): 290-304., Phadke, Shrikrishna. Rebel Herbs: Staying Healthy with the Superstars of Ayurveda, 2014, 56, Bradwejn, Jacques, Yueping Zhou, Diana Koszycki, and Jakov Shlik. "A double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the effects of Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) on acoustic startle response in healthy subjects." Journal of clinical psychopharmacology 20, no. 6 (2000): 680-684. Leung, Albert Y. "Chinese medicinals." Advances in New Crops. Timber Press, Portland, OR (1990): 499-510.


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