Rau Ma
Mother of all juices
by Nguyen Khoi Nguyen
Rau ma, or pennywort, directly translates as mother's herb, and Viet mother's swear by its health benefits. Mom grows this low-lying plant in her garden. It can be a frustrating process to harvest rau ma because it doesn't necessarily grow in one tidy area. More likely, you'll find the round leaves popping up in scattered little patches. The leaves are cut with scissors, blended, and strained to make a deep, emerald green juice.
Rau ma pops up between mom's aloe plants.
Rau ma pops up between mom's aloe plants.
Left: washed rau ma. Right: Mom's fine, hand-sewn cheese cloth.
Left: washed rau ma. Right: Mom's fine, hand-sewn cheese cloth.

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Thao says "The best Viet things in life are green: dau xanh (green ointment) and rau ma!" Refreshing and just a tad sweet, mom's rau ma is the perfect, healthy drink on a summer's day.
Rau ma, pennywort juice
photo/video/illustration: Nguyen Khoi Nguyen

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