Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tasting Notes: Thailand

Opening ceremonies at the 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Bangkok were an extravaganza to behold. Orchestras playing music from the four regions of Thailand sat cross-legged in the courtyard of the Queen Sirikit convention center. Regional dance and craft-making were similarly on display, with special presentations involving drums, dragons, and fireworks punctuating the evening. To say that the food on offer was abundant would not come close to conveying the spread, laid out buffet style in the entire restaurant area indoors, and snaking around the festivities outdoors...

In the midst of all this hub-hub, I came across a new (to me) taste: soothing and refreshing lemongrass juice.

It must have been sweetened because its tangy taste was tempered, yielding a sweet muskiness that also evoked jasmine. It turns out that lemongrass juice is easy to make. The method involves bruising and then boiling the stalks to extract the juice, much as you would do to make a tea. (Unlike, say, the different method than is used for making wheatgrass juice, where the grass itself is passed through a specialized juicing device.) This makes sense, as cooking with lemongrass also involves extracting the essence from the stalk: the green grassy parts of the plant are actually tough and bitter, and not very suitable for cooking or drinking. Those, like me, who have learned about cooking with lemongrass through trial and disasterous error, will know what I mean. :)

In any case, I found this recipe for lemongrass juice. If the lemongrass in my kitchen planter is still alive by the time I get home, I will be trying it out. 

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