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  • Category: Cooking & Cuisine

    The versatile lemongrass

    I regularly have tea with lemongrass and ginger popped in, and recently when relatives came to stay, they were saying how good it was, both the fragrance emitting from it and the taste. Naturally, I was quite pleased at the appreciation! I was telling them that it requires patience. Most people are always in a hurry to make a cup of tea, switching off the gas once it is boiled. I don't do it that way, unless there is the rare occasion when I need to go somewhere and want a quick cup. Otherwise, once it starts bubbling, I make the flame low and let the tea continue to simmer for a while. Also, some people pop in the tea leaves/powder later, but I always put it at the beginning itself. Everything goes in at one go at the start, including sugar, tea, ginger, and lemon grass stalks.

    Another hot beverage I like with lemon grass is soup with the stalks, coriander stalks, a single clove of garlic, and a bit of ginger. Once the water boils, I squeeze half of a large lemon in it, let it simmer, then strain to drink.

    As for food, I like to have a home version of Thai green curry. I use the ready made masala for it that I've bought at a local food exhibition, while grinding broccoli (steamed first) + a few bits of finely cut lemon grass (it should be very finely chopped otherwise it comes in the mouth when eating, which is certainly not nice) + a bit of ginger + the water used to boil the lemon grass. Then I pop in bits of broccoli and yellow/green zucchini and/or red/yellow capsicum as per what is available (all steamed or cooked earlier) while heating the curry and have it with rice.

    Do you use lemon grass stalks and if so, in what ways?
  • #28461
    An excellent thread! I really appreciate. However, I would humbly submit that lemon grass, broccoli, zucchini and red (or yellow) capsicum are very costly and almost beyond the reach of common Indians. These items are not readily available in all localities. Not only these items, ginger and garlic are also becoming costlier day by day.
    "Tera chehra kitna suhana lagta hain; Tere aage chand purana lagta hain"--Kaif Bhopali

  • #28464
    It's good to know the recipe using lemongrass but I am yet to use it in any preparation. Lemongrass has health benefits and is used in tea to enhance the taste and when it comes to enhancing the taste of tea I am reminded of one of our clients in Odisha. There a worker prepares the tea for us with various herbs and it tastes nice. I would say cooking is a passion and those who cook well do a lot of experiments with spices and herbs. This post declares that Vandana Ma'am has a passion for cooking and we hope to get more such threads from her on mouth-watering dishes.

  • #28473
    We use it occasionally in the tea as it gives a good flavour. I got a removed plant piece with a small root of that in the big garden in our area and put it in a flower pot and it became quite healthy and many long leafs came up within 10-15 days and it is sufficient for our use. Only thing is we have to keep it in a partially shaded area so it doesn't get sunlight continuously and remains healthy.
    It is available in Big Basket or Amazon and price is about Rs 12 for 100 gram.

  • #28480
    Partha- Yes, indeed, the vegetables I mentioned are expensive and we do not buy them when the price skyrockets. I do not mind paying Rs.30/- for a large-sized yellow capsicum but will refrain from buying it if it is small in size or it costs Rs.40-50. Same for the zucchini and broccoli.

    Lemongrass I get for Rs.20/- and this has been the price for quite a few years now. I think it is worth it as it is substantial enough to last for a long time, since it is not as though I am putting a lot of it in my tea.

    Sankalan- I do love cooking, but not mundane tasks like making rotis and chopping vegetables! The lemongras soup I mentioned would actually be less of a soup in the literal sense, and more like a soothing hot beverage. By the way, there is a popular soup served in most restaurants where meals are available, and that is lemon soup with coriander. You could look up the recipe of Sanjeev Kapoor or Tarla Dalal for it, adapting it as you wish, such as not putting in mushrooms if you do not eat those.

  • #28507
    My wife also allows me to boil the liquid for a while so that the content from the vegetables and other ingredients will get into the liquid.
    I take daily a cup of green tea made by dipping a bag of tea powder in boiling water. I use Detax green tea made by Girinar. It tastes very good and will have the flavour of ginger etc.

  • #28521
    Just as the quantity of lemon grass used, this thread has less of Lemongrass and more of tea making.
    However, as the thread title and closing lines are of Lemongrass, I shall respond about more of Lemongrass and also about tea making.

    I am from a place which is near to the place of central trade area or market for Lemongrass. Till a couple of decades ago, the lemongrass trade was quite flourishing in our district. Even now there is a Lemongrass co-operative society and even a lemongrass oil research centre some miles away from my place.

    During my childhood Lemongrass used to be growing by themselves on our boundary fences and we children used to pluck them for the sheer aroma of them. When having cold and nasal congestion we used to crush a piece of lemongrass and inhale the aroma( Lemongrass is an ingredient in the cold 'vapo-rubs' and pain relieving ointments)

    Frankly we were not using lemongrass in our tea then. But we were using lemongrass oil for various purposes mostly for pain relief and floor cleaning.

    It was only after I moved to Mumbai in the early seventies, that I came across the cocktail decoction of tea boiled and made with ginger and lemongrass. While in Mumbai we used to have such masala tea frequently as lemongrass and ginger were very commonly and affordable available with our daily vegetable vendors.

    It was again in Mumbai that I saw tea being boiled fore more time. In our place tea was never boiled but taken out and filtered just when it starts full boiling. Those times in tea shops 'Semovar' was used . The Semovar had the water boiling and every time a customer comes for tea the vendor puts the needed tea powder in the tea strainer and pours the required quantity boiling water taken from Semovar. The strained tea decoction falls into the tea glass and required milk and sugar are added to make tea. So tea was never boiled more.

    But in Mumbai the 'Theen number'tea was made by boiling and stirring for more time.

    Now boundaries have brick and mortar walls, lemongrass no more grow there and I do not get to see fresh lemongrass anywhere near. I think the Lemongrass cultivation has also come down drastically in our area.

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