Cool, Low Sodium, and Deliciously Fragrant. Summertime drinks, here we come!
Fresh lemongrass is one of my favorite flavors and we are lucky enough to be able to grow lemongrass in our yard, though there’s a caveat – we grow it “contained” to avoid having to “maintain” the growth, because when left unattended, the lemongrass plant can spread like nobody’s business into the rest of the garden.
Lemongrass is harvested at the base:
For most cooking applications, there’s only a small [fresh] part of the lemongrass stalk that is typically used: it’s roughly the first 6-8″ (starting from the bottom of the stalk). The very bottom of the lemongrass stalk, the top, and the first few outside layers are discarded.
• 5 stalks lemon grass, cleaned (as above)
• 1 lb ginger (or more, if you prefer this to taste more like a “ginger-lemongrass” – then use 1 1/2 lbs of ginger)
• 1/2 teaspoon lime zest, finely grated
• 1 1/2 to 2 quarts water (stronger = 1 1/2 cups, slightly weaker = 2 cups)
Optional: [Thai] Basil, mint and/or lime to garnish; palm sugar or honey to sweeten.
1. Cut the useable portions of lemongrass into lengthwise halves
2. Rinse the lemongrass’ exterior and interior (much like you would a leek)
3. Cut the lemongrass halves into smaller pieces, roughly 1″ – 2″.
4. Cut the ginger into (roughly) 1/2″ x 2″ pieces. It’s not necessary to peel the ginger, though we do.
5. Use the back/bottom of your knife (or this can be done using a mortar/pestle) to bruise the cut lemongrass and ginger pieces — this helps to bring out the flavor.
Alternatively, you can throw it all into a food processor and blend together — in this case, I suggest peeling the ginger.
6. Place the lemongrass, ginger, and lime zest into the water and bring the liquid to a boil, and reduce the heat to allow the liquid to simmer.
7. Simmer for roughly 20 minutes. If you prefer a deeper taste, you can simmer it longer (up to ~ 90 minutes).
8. Strain and discard the particles.
9. Sweeten to taste with palm sugar or honey.
10. Serve over ice , and/or garnish with basil, mint, and/or lime.
11. To store, immediately refrigerate the liquid.