Food From Another World

Food from another world: Lemongrass

I was recently browsing for Thai curry recipes online and one common ingredient I came across was lemongrass. A culinary herb, lemongrass is found as a common ingredient many in Asian cuisines specially Thai. Lemongrass is typically a tropical grass that thrives in hot and humid weather. That said, it can also be grown in temperate regions with some basic care. Check out this article for more guidance on growing lemongrass.

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Lemongrass is an immensely fragrant herb – one can smell lemongrass from quite a distance! A lemony-lime zest merged with ginger flavor gives lemongrass a citrusy and herby taste.

Visually, it looks like spring onions or scallions but is much harder; in order to cook it,  the hard outer layers must be peeled until the tender inner layers surface. The outer scraps need not be discarded! They can be used to make a soothing herbal tea by steeping them in boiling water for 5 minutes. Cool off this summer with this Thai Lemongrass and Ginger Iced Tea!

Lemongrass is also lauded for its several uses apart from in food. Here are just a few:

·         Digestion: For a healthy digestive tract, lemongrass tea consumption on regular basis can help. Where lemongrass is native it is made into a tea called ‘fever tea’ that is used to treat diarrhoea, stomach cramps and headaches.

·         Anti-fungal and Anti-bacterial: Studies have shown that lemongrass kills multiple types of bacteria and fungi and has deodorant properties.

·         Cold and Flu: The antibacterial and antifungal properties help the body cope with coughs, fever and other cold and flu symptoms. Plus, it is loaded with vitamin C that boosts your immune system to fight the infection. You can use lemongrass oil to relieve pain in muscles and joints, as well as headaches resulting from a cold or the flu.

·         Skincare: Lemongrass steam causes pores to open up and clear out pimples and blackheads.

·         Aromatherapy: It is used in aromatherapy as a mood lifter.

Visit the nearest Asian market and grab some lemongrass – use it in curries, stir fry, rice dishes or even in your morning tea!

Lemongrass tea is usually not recommended for small children. Some people could also be allergic to lemongrass. So before consuming it, make sure to research in depth and/or check with you doctor.

 

Sources:

http://www.gourmetgarden.com/en/herb/198/lemongrass

http://appetiteforchina.com/recipes/thai-lemongrass-ginger-iced-tea

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/lemongrass/lemongrass-winter-care.htm

Priyanka Kumbhat

Iskashitaa Refugee Network

Creative Writing Intern