Coleus Amboinicus Recipes: Exploring Culinary Delights with Cuban Oregano

Coleus Amboinicus Recipes, commonly known as Cuban oregano or Indian borage, is a versatile herb celebrated for its robust flavor and medicinal properties. Originating from East Africa and now widely cultivated in tropical regions worldwide, this herb offers a unique addition to culinary dishes, bringing a blend of aromatic notes reminiscent of oregano with hints of mint and sage. In this article, we delve into the diverse ways to incorporate Coleus amboinicus into your cooking repertoire, exploring both traditional and innovative recipes.

About Coleus Amboinicus

Coleus amboinicus is characterized by its succulent, fleshy leaves that are rich in essential oils, giving it a pungent aroma and a slightly bitter, peppery taste. It is often used in herbal medicine for its purported health benefits, including digestive aid and respiratory support. In culinary applications, its distinctive flavor profile adds depth to various dishes, ranging from soups and stews to marinades and teas.

Popular Uses in Cooking

The leaves of Coleus amboinicus can be used fresh or dried, imparting a strong flavor that complements both meat and vegetarian dishes. It is a staple ingredient in Caribbean, Latin American, and Southeast Asian cuisines, where it is valued for its ability to enhance the taste of curries, seafood, and grilled meats.

Benefits of Using Coleus Amboinicus

Beyond its culinary appeal, Coleus amboinicus offers several health benefits due to its nutrient-rich composition. It contains vitamins A and C, as well as minerals such as calcium and iron. These nutrients contribute to its antioxidant properties and potential anti-inflammatory effects when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet.

Coleus Amboinicus Recipes to Try

1. Cuban Oregano Chicken Curry

Prepare a fragrant chicken curry by sautéing onions, garlic, and ginger until golden brown. Add diced chicken pieces and brown them before stirring in chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, and fresh Coleus amboinicus leaves. Simmer until the chicken is tender and the flavors meld together. Serve hot with steamed rice for a comforting meal that showcases the herb’s aromatic qualities.

2. Spicy Coleus Amboinicus Salsa

Create a vibrant salsa by combining diced tomatoes, red onions, jalapenos, and chopped Coleus amboinicus leaves. Season with lime juice, salt, and a pinch of sugar for balance. This salsa pairs perfectly with grilled fish or as a topping for tacos, adding a refreshing twist with its herbal undertones.

3. Coleus Amboinicus Tea Infusion

Brew a soothing herbal tea by steeping fresh Coleus amboinicus leaves in hot water for several minutes. Strain and sweeten with honey to taste. This aromatic tea is not only calming but also aids digestion, making it an ideal beverage after a hearty meal.

4. Coleus Amboinicus Pesto

Prepare a flavorful pesto by blending Coleus amboinicus leaves with garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil until smooth. Toss with cooked pasta for a quick and satisfying dish that highlights the herb’s intense flavor. Garnish with extra Parmesan and fresh basil for an added touch of freshness.

5. Coleus Amboinicus Salad Dressing

Whisk together finely chopped Coleus amboinicus leaves, olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper to create a vibrant salad dressing. Drizzle over mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers for a refreshing salad that bursts with herbal goodness.


Coleus amboinicus, or Cuban oregano, offers a delightful opportunity to explore new flavors in your cooking. Whether you’re incorporating it into hearty stews, refreshing teas, or zesty salsas, this versatile herb adds a unique twist to traditional recipes. Embrace its aromatic profile and potential health benefits to elevate your culinary creations with a touch of exotic flair.

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FAQs About Coleus Amboinicus

How do I store fresh Coleus amboinicus?

Fresh Coleus amboinicus leaves should be stored in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. They can also be frozen in ice cube trays with water or olive oil for longer preservation.

Can I use dried Coleus amboinicus in recipes?

Yes, dried Coleus amboinicus leaves can be used as a substitute for fresh ones in recipes that require prolonged cooking times, such as soups and stews. Use half the amount of dried leaves compared to fresh for optimal flavor.

What are the health benefits of Coleus amboinicus?

Coleus amboinicus is rich in vitamins and minerals, offering antioxidant properties and potential anti-inflammatory effects. It is also used in traditional medicine for digestive and respiratory ailments.

Where can I buy Coleus amboinicus?

Coleus amboinicus plants or fresh leaves are available in specialty nurseries, farmers’ markets, and some grocery stores, especially those with a diverse selection of herbs and spices.