Lemon Grass

Lemon Grass: ta krai

With its subtle lemon flavor, lemongrass is used in everything from curries, to soups, to salads in Thai cuisine. This light green and yellow plant is a fibrous grass that grows in bushy clusters
in tropical areas.

The stalks of the plant are about a foot in length but only the inner part of the stalk is used in cooking. Before using lemongrass in any recipe, the root must be removed up to the appearance of purplish-tinted rings and any dry or fibrous part of the plant (the top part and the outer covering) should be discarded. When you have reached the inner part of the lemongrass plant that can be used for cooking, it will hold together when cut into smaller pieces.

To extract the flavor out of the lemongrass, cut the stalk at a sharp angel and smash the end to allow the aromatic oil to be released into your dish. The hard lemongrass pieces can be removed from the dish before serving, as they are meant for flavoring the broth or sauce, and not for eating. Lemongrass can also be crushed into a paste with a mortar and pestle for a more intense flavor.

Lemongrass is also highly treasured in herbal medicine for its ability to treat digestive problems, respiratory problems, urinary problems, fatigue, back pain, yeast infections and menstrual irregularity.

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