I bought a bunch of lemongrass at my local tailgate market this week. It was an unabashed impulse purchase, and now I’m not sure what to with it. Is there anyway to mitigate the woody texture, or is it like bay leaves, to be used for flavor and removed before eating?
Bay Leaves. If you slice it in half, there’s a soft inner bit you can eat, but I think the texture’s just weird. It’s great in soups and thai dishes and it’s fantastic with shrimp. I got a recipe somewhere for a killer thai soup that uses it. If I can find it, I’ll post it.
Definetely remove before eating!
As for what to make. Thai Tom Yum (hot and sour soup) springs to mind. I don’t really have a recipe as I tend to just buy the Tom Yum paste and follow the instructions on the packet. Fresh lemongrass is an optional extra to this, but one that makes it a lot nicer.
Check out other Thai recipes as well, lemongrass is used a lot in that cuisine. I think in Malaysian cookery as well.
Lemongrass is great in marinades for Asian cooking. Marinate halibut or cod in fish sauce, lemongrass, chili paste and a bit of olive oil before using for stir fry.
Okay, I googled for ye. Here’s a recipe: Tom Yum Soup
Was that a bit like what you meant in the simulpost, Fenris?
This might get you stuck with some other mystery ingredients, but as I said already, the ready made paste isn’t too bad and if I can get in it western Ireland, you should be able to find it too.
I swiped this mostly from a recipe by Martha Stewart, but adapted it some. There are a ton of ingredients, but most are cheap and it’s easy to make.
[li]1 1/2 pounds raw medium shrimp–buy 'em with the shell on and unpeel 'em-SAVE THE PEEL!)[/li][li]1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil [/li][li]6 dried de árbol chiles [/li][li]4 cups Chicken Stock [/li][li]1 half-inch piece galangal or 1-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced and lightly crushed [/li][li]3 stalks lemongrass, green parts and hard outer layers removed, sliced in half lengthwise, and lightly bruised [/li][li]10 cilantro stems, rinsed well [/li][li]6 kaffir-lime leaves, torn, or zest of 1 lime, removed with a peeler in strips and julienned (I’ve never seen the leaves)[/li][li]5 to 6 fresh bird or serrano chiles, lightly crushed, or more to taste (6 is pretty hot. Be careful)[/li][li]1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste [/li][li]2 tablespoons fish sauce/Nam-Pla[/li][li]2 heaping tablespons dried wood-ear mushrooms[/li][li]3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice [/li][li]1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves )[/li][li]Rice noodles-one bundle (they come dried in bundles a bit bigger than your fist[/li][li]1 heaping Tablespoonfuls of um…Srirchaha sauce? That yummy Korean Red Chili sauce (or more to taste)–look in the Oriental food section of the supermarket–it comes in a squirt-bottle and has a green lid. Um…This stuff[/li][li]About 1/2 cup of crushed peanuts (or cashews–I prefer cashews)[/li][li]1 Tablespoon of soy sauce[/li][/ul]
Take the wood ear mushrooms rinse under cold water. Then pour about a cup of boiling water over them.
Take the shells of the shrimp and the chilies and toss 'em in a frying pan with about 3 tablespoons of oil. Fry 'em until the chilis start to turn black (remember they’re dark red to begin with, so you’re not trying to burn 'em). Dump 'em (oil and all) into a pot.
Add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Add the lime zest, the fresh chilies, the cilantro stems, the fresh chilies (chopped up), the soy sauce, the lemongrass and the ginger. Simmer for 20 minutes.
(Meanwhile, read the directions on the package of rice noodles–they’ll probably say something like “Cover with hot water for 10 minutes and then rinse in cold water”. Follow the directions so they’re ready when the time comes)
Add Fish sauce and bring to a hard boil for 10 minutes. Taste–add salt or more chilies here. Strain everything out.
Add in the sambal olek, shrimp and mushrooms (along with the water the mushrooms soaked in. About 30 seconds later, add in the rice noodles. Cook for about 1 minute more (shrimp cook fast and turn to rubber if overcooked).
This’ll make about 6 BIG bowlfuls. Garnish each bowl with some cilantro leaves, some crushed cashews and a lime slice.
Oops. Left out one small step: stir in the lime juice at the very end. Right before serving.
I never make my chicken curry without it. To use it, i cut the stalk to about eight inches, then lightly slit it across about every half inch, like a street hotdog or sausage vendor might slice his dogs, this brings out the lemonny flavour, then I let it simmer in the juice of my curry, removing it before serving. Great in Thai curries. Don’t forget the fresh basil…
Many thanks, y’all. Fenris, that recipe looks divine. I like the idea of a fish marinade, too.
Of course, my garden has just exploded with lettuce, so I doubt I’ll be eating anything besides green salads for the next few weeks…