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LOVE FOR LEMONGRASS

LifestyleLOVE FOR LEMONGRASS

By: Dr. Kaviraj Khialani- Celebrity Master Chef.

 

Lemongrass is an herb with a lemony scent. The culinary herb is produced from the stalk of the lemongrass plant. This plant grows in many tropical climates, most notably in Southeast Asia. Lemongrass is a plant. The leaves and the oil are used to make medicine. Lemongrass is used for treating digestive tract spasms, stomach-ache, high blood pressure, convulsions, pain, vomiting, cough, achy joints (rheumatism), fever, the common cold, and exhaustion. It is also used to kill germs and as a mild astringent.

Lemongrass is native to the tropical countries of India, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, Guatemala, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. It grows upright in dense bunches and thrives in moist, warm climates with well-drained, loose, dry, loam soils.

The lemongrass herb has stalks that are fibrous and smell much like lemons. In an essential oil, the scent is fresh and light with a hint of lemon. Lemongrass can be found in subtropical and tropical areas, where it thrives on fertile, well-drained, sandy and loamy soil that is exposed to direct sunlight. Lemongrass tea is generally a safe and healthy herbal drink. Animal and laboratory research has shown that lemongrass has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties. Lemongrass may also help protect your stomach lining and improve your lipid profile

Here are a few Health Benefits of using Lemongrass in our Daily Cooking.

  • Lemongrass has pain- killer properties and is useful in a number of ways.
  • It helps to cure respiratory diseases & can protect liver from damage.
  • It has anti- fungal properties as well, can help reduce diarrhoea.
  • Lemongrass promotes in detoxification of our body in a number of ways.
  • It Is a great immunity booster and also helps treat fever.
  • Lemongrass is good for our skin and bone health as well.
  • It can be helpful to us since it helps prevent anaemia and also lowers cholesterol.

 

Here are a few of my favorite Recipes with Lemongrass:

Recipe-1] LEMONGRASS & ASPARAGUS SOUP

Ingredients:

Fresh lemongrass- 4-5 no, cut into medium sized pieces.

Asparagus- 10-12 no, tips trimmed for garnish, rest to be sliced

Oil-1 tsp

Butter-1 tsp

Garlic- 1 tsp chopped

Onion-1 small, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Mixed herbs- ½ tsp

Maida- 1-2 tsp

Chili flakes- ½ tsp

Sweet potato- ½ cup cubed

Water/ stock- 2-3 cups

Flax seeds/ melon seeds-2 tsp

Fresh cream-1/4 cup

Cheese-2-3 tsp

Assorted fresh herbs for garnish

Method:

  1. Pre-prep all the ingredients for the lemongrass- asparagus soup.
  2. Heat oil and butter in a pan, saute the lemongrass pieces, garlic and onions for a few seconds. For non-veg versions we can add some chopped bacon as well.
  3. Add in the sweet potatoes, asparagus slices, add in the seasonings, herbs, chili flakes, seeds and mix well, also add some maida and saute for 20 seconds.
  4. Now pour in the liquid content/stock or water and allow the ingredients to soften and cook for 12-18 mins, cool, remove the lemon grass pieces and then puree, strain the soup.
  5. Bring the contents of the soup back to a boil, add in the cream and simmer for 3-4 mins, check for salt and adjust seasonings and texture accordingly.
  6. Serve the delicate and refreshing soup piping hot and garnish with some herbs, chili flakes, micro-greens etc.

Recipe-2] LEMONGRASS TEMPERED FRIED RICE

Ingredients:

Basmati rice- 2 cups boiled

Oil-2 tsp

Butter-1 tsp

Lemongrass- 10-12 pieces’ cut

Garlic- 1 tsp sliced

Ginger-1 tsp shredded

Shallots- 6- 8 no sliced

Boneless chicken breast- 1 cup sliced thinly

Eggs-2-3 no

Salt and pepper to taste

Assorted veggies for color- carrots/ cabbage/green capsicum etc

Cut them into small pieces/ cubes/ dices.

Soy sauce- 2-3 tsp

Red chili sauce-1-2 tsp

White vinegar/ chili vinegar- 1-2 tsp

Roasted crushed peanuts-2-3 tsp

Spring onion greens- 2-3 tbsp. chopped

Method:

  1. Pre-prep all the ingredients as per the recipe. Heat 1 tsp oil in the pan and break in the eggs, scramble them add salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 mins, remove and keep aside.
  2. Heat oil and butter in a wok/ pan add in the garlic, ginger, shallots and lemongrass and saute for a few seconds.
  3. Add in the chicken pieces and saute them on a high flame for 1-2 mins, add in the seasonings, sauces, little water and allow the chicken to cook for 6- 8 mins.
  4. Also we can use assorted colorful veggies as listed which can be going into the pan as well side by side and cooked.
  5. Add in the boiled rice and greens, give them a nice mix and cook for 3-5 mins and then dish out, serve hot.

Recipe- 3] LEMONGRASS FLAVORED GREEN VEG CURRY

Ingredients:

Oil-2 tsp

Lemongrass- 6- 9 pieces’ cut

Garlic-1 tsp sliced

Ginger/thai galangal- 2 tsp sliced

Shallots- 4-6 no peeled and cut 1 x 2

Eggplant- 1 cup cubed

Fresh basil leaves- 10-12 no

Broccoli florets-1 cup

Mushrooms-1/2 cup cut 1 x 2

Snow peas- 10-12 no

Carrots-1/4 cup cubes

Babycorn- 2-3 no sliced

Salt to taste

Green curry paste- 2-3 tsp

Sugar- 1 pinch

Water-1/2 cup- 1 cup

Coconut milk- 2 cups thick

Cornstarch solution- 2-3 tsp.

Coconut cream/ tender coconut/ basil leaves for garnish

Method:

  1. Pre-prep all the ingredients for the lemongrass flavored curry.
  2. Heat oil in a pan add in the lemongrass, ginger/galangal, fresh basil, green curry paste, add in some water to prevent the curry paste from sticking or burning.
  3. Add in the assorted veggies of your choice and saute for a couple of minutes, add ½ cup water and 1 cup coconut milk and simmer for 8-10 mins.
  4. Pour in a little more coconut milk as per texture desired along with a little corn starch solution to thicken up a bit, cook for 2-3 mins, garnish with fresh basil/ coconut cream and serve hot with steaming hot sticky jasmine rice/ lemongrass flavored white rice.

Recipe- 4] PAN FRIED LEMONGRASS FISH FILLETS

Ingredients:

Boneless fish fillets- 450gms- 750gms, sliced

For the marination:

Oil-2-3 tsp

Lemon juice- 2-3 tsp

Ginger shreds- 2 tsp

Mixed herbs-1/2 tsp

Chili flakes-1/2 tsp

Soy sauce-1 tsp

Brown sugar-1 tsp

Basil leaves- 5-6 no

White wine-2-3 tbsp. optional

Salt and pepper to taste

For pan frying the fish:

Maida-1 cup

Oil-1/4 cup

Butter-2-3 tsp

For the accompaniments and plating:

Butter-2-3 tsp

Garlic-2-3 tsp sliced

Shallots- 5-6 no, cut 1 x 4

Spring onion greens- ½ cup chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Steamed white rice/brown rice- 2 cups

Lemon grass- 5-7 pieces

Flax seeds/ melon seeds- 2-3 tsp

Jalapenos/ slit green/ red chilies- 2-3 no

Blanched spinach leaves- 1 cup

Method:

  1. Pre-prep all the ingredients as per the recipe for the fish.
  2. Prepare the fish fillets, apply the marination, keep aside for 12-15 mins in the refrigerator.
  3. Coat the fillets with dry maida/refined flour and pan fry it in a little oil and butter in a medium hot pan for 2 mins on each side, remove and place on a baking tray, cook in the oven for 8-10 mins at 180 degrees celsius.
  4. To prepare the accompaniments, heat oil and butter in a pan add in the lemongrass, garlic, shallots, spring onion greens, spinach, salt, pepper, the chilies, seeds and give it a nice mix and toss.
  5. Add some white wine or lime juice at this stage if desired and add in the cooked steamed rice and mix well. Cook for 2 mins, continue the plating of the fish, starting with a base of rice and greens and top it up with the cooked fish and garnish with herbs/ garlic butter sauce etc and serve hot.

Recipe-5] LEMONGRASS PISTACHIO PUDDING

Ingredients:

Lemongrass- 8-10 pieces’ cut

Full fat/cooking cream- 750 ml

Sugar-1/2 cup

Condensed milk- ¼ cup

Lemon essence-2-3 drops

Pistachios- 2-3 tsp chopped

Gelatin- 2-3 tbsp. hydrated

Assorted berries/ herbs/ nuts/ seeds/ praline etc for garnish

Method:

  1. A delicate and delicious dessert with a mild and refreshing lemony flavor in it.
  2. Start using a thick bottomed saucepan, warm up the cooking cream and add in the sweeteners to taste and stir for 2-3 mins.
  3. Add in the lemon grass pieces and allow them to infuse their flavor in the cream for 8-10 mins, remove.
  4. Cool down the mixture and add in the pistachios, lemon essence and fold in the hydrated gelatin/ agar agar and mix well.
  5. Pour the mixture into ramekins/ small baba mould etc and allow them to chill in the refrigerator and set for 3-4 hours.
  6. Carefully demold the dessert and plate it using elements of color and crunch to add variety and eye appeal on the plate and serve it chilled.

Recipe-6] LEMONGRASS INFUSED HERBAL TEA

Ingredients:

Lemongrass- 6-8 pieces

Water- 750 ml

Lime slices- 2-3 no

Ginger slices- 3-4 no

Mint leaves- 8-10 no

Cinnamon stick- 1-inch piece

Peppercorns- 3-4 no crushed

Basil leaves- 2-3 no

Method:

  1. Prepare all the ingredients for the herbal spiced tea.
  2. There are various combinations to work on when it comes to infusion of flavors into warm/hot beverages.
  3. Start up with a saucepan, warm up the water, add in the lemongrass and all the other ingredients as well, simmer for 8-10 mins, bring to a light boil and turn off the flame.

4.Allow to rest for a couple of mins, carefully strain it out using a strainer or a muslin cloth into serving small tea cups and enjoy this anytime of the day for a nice digestive effect and immunity boosting drink as well with lemongrass.

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BRIEF ABOUT THE AUTHOR: DR. KAVIRAJ KHIALANI – CELEBRITY MASTER CHEF IS A MUMBAI BASED FOOD & HOSPITALITY CONSULTANT. HE HAS WORKED WITH ESTEEMED BRANDS LIKE THE TAJ GROUP OF HOTELS, KUWAIT AIRWAYS AND MANY MORE. BESIDES HAVING SPECIALISED IN OVER 33 PLUS INTERNATIONAL CUISINES CHEF KAVIRAJ IS A RENOWNED NAME IN THE WORLD OF HOSPITALITY EDUCATION, TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT. HE HAS ALSO BEEN FEATURED ON STAR PLUS & COLORS TELEVISION. AN AWARDEE OF THE BHARAT VIDYA RATAN AWARD, BEST CHEF ASIA AWARD AND MANY MORE ACCOLADES MAKE HIM ONE OF THE ICONIC NAMES FROM THE CULINARY WORLD.

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