stewed chicken with codonopsis roots

Codonopsis in Vietnamese cuisine

Dangshen (Vietnamese: đảng sâm) is the name for the ginseng-like dried roots of some Codonopsis species. In China, dangshen is the roots of Codonopsis pilosula vines, or more specifically its “tangshen” subspieces. In Korea, Codonopsis lanceolata is also cultivated though it’s called deodeok there.

Codonopsis Javanica in Vietnam
Codonopsis Javanica (đảng sâm) in Vietnam
Codonopsis javanica flowers
Codonopsis javanica flowers

In Vietnam, the common Codonopsis is Codonopsis javanica (Vietnamese: đảng sâm, đảng sâm nam, sâm dây). Previously, there is also another Codonopsis species indigenous to Vietnam named Codonopsis celebica (Vietnamese: ngân đằng), however the species is now reclassified as Cyclocodon lancifolius subsp. celebicus. Codonopsis javanica is known to cultivated in Kon Tum, a province in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.

stewed chicken with codonopsis roots
Stewed chicken with codonopsis roots, a delicacy dish in Kon Tum province

Codonopsis has been used for medicinal purposes all around the world. The chemical constituents of Codonopsis mainly are polyacetylenes, polyenes, flavonoids, lignans, alkaloids, coumarins, terpenoids, steroids, organic acids, saccharides, and so on. In Vietnam, both fresh and dried đảng sâm roots are cooked in some tonic soup, porridge or stew dishes. The roots can also be submerged in rice wine to become tonic wine. Fresh leaves are also used as vegetable, or get dried to make tea with or without Codonopsis roots.

Vietnamese Codonopsis tea
Vietnamese Codonopsis tea
Vietnamese Codonopsis wine
Vietnamese Codonopsis wine and fresh Codonopsis roots.

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