The Many Uses of Lemon Grass

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Hello herb lovers,

Every now and then I read a post by another blogger I feel compelled to comment on, especially if it means that Herbology can come to the aid of someone who is in need of herbal assistance. The recipient of today’s herbal emergency is Lee from Urban Cultivation.

When I read that Lee is about to have a a healthy crop of lemon grass that he does not know what to do with I ran to my herbal library to gather as much information as I could find (in 7 minutes).

Well Lee, fret no more, help is at hand……even for a herbivore like yourself 🙂

lemon_grass

First, medicinally lemon grass has been used as a mild antibiotic for flu, fevers and pain, colic, gas and stomach problems. It relaxes the gut, is a mild antidepressant and helps lift your spirits when your mood is sour. The essential oil is an antifungal and antibacterial agent which can be used locally on ringworm.

You can crush the leaves and stalks to release the citronella – rub onto your skin to repel mozzies and other flying bugs. lemon grass tea is great for the complexion (listen up teenagers!!) The tea makes a great iced tea in summer too.

Culinary uses are many, but since Lee specified non meat versions, I will concentrate on those for now.

Coconut and Lemon Grass Ice Cream courtesy of The Kitchen & Garden Book of Herbs by J. Houdret and J. Farrow

Serves 5-6

Ingredients

4 lemon grass stalks (10cm pieces from the bottom)

400ml coconut milk

3 egg yolks

90g caster sugar

2tsp cornflour

150ml whipping cream

rind of 1 lime finely grated

lime slices to decorate

For the lime syrup:

75g caster sugar

75ml water

1 lime thinly sliced, plus 30ml lime juice

1) Cut lemon grass stalks in half length ways, bruise with rolling pin (or something else that’s heavy)

Put them in a heavy pan, add coconut milk and bring to just below boiling point (dont walk away, it happens quickly). Remove from heat and leave to infuse for 30mins – then remove lemon grass.

2) Whisk egg yolks in a bowl with sugar and cornflour until smooth.

3) Gradually pour the coconut and lemon grass milk over the mixture and whisk well.

4) Return the mixture to the pan andheat gently, stirring until the custard starts to thicken. Do not let boil!

5) Remove the custard from heat and strain into a clean bowl. Cover with a circle of dampened greaseproof paper to prevent skin forming. Leave to cool.

6) BY HAND: Whip cream until it has thickened but still falls from the whisk. Stir into custard with the lime rind. Transfer mixture to a freezer proof container and freeze for 2 hours. Remove from freezer and scrape with a fork to breaqk all the ice crystals that have formed. (Whisk or use a food processor to make it smooth). Freeze for another 2hours then whip it all up again.

USING ICE CREAM MAKER: Stir cream & lime rind, into the cooled custard – churn.

7) Spoon the mixture into 5 or 6 dariole moulds and freeze for at least 3 hours.

8) LIME SYRUP:Heat water and sugar in pan until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and let boil for 5 minutes without stirring. Reduce heat- add thinly sliced lime, and lime juice – simmer gently for another 5 minutes. Leave to cool.

9) Un-mould ice cream, spoon over lime syrup and decorate with lime slices.

Thai Vegetable and Coriander Curry with Lemon Grass Jasmine Rice courtesy of The Kitchen & Garden Book of Herbs by J. Houdret and J. Farrow

hmm…….this is a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge recipe. Lee, darling, if you want it, give me a shout, but for now I’ll just give you the Lemon Grass Rice part, ok?

For the rice:

225g jasmine rice, rinsed

1 lemon grass stalk, outer leaves removed cut into 3 pieces. (it will probably be the usual 10 cm piece from the bottom)

6 cardamom pods,, bruised

1) Tip the rinsed rice into a large pan, and add the pieces of lemon grass and cardamom pods. Pour over 475ml water, bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is tender and slightly sticky. Season with salt, cover and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

2) Remove the spices and serve with curry. Sprinkle with coriander leaves.

There you go Lee (and everyone else), a multitude of applications. So many possibilities to put your crop to use. Definitely give the lemon grass tea a go, it’s a very delicate and pleasing taste 🙂

Stay tuned for details of my visit to a local herb nursery and an update on my gardening adventure.

Stay Herbal!

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