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(aid) – Lemon grass adds a fresh and lively note to many dishes. Its lemony taste harmonises perfectly with chicken, as well as with fish and other seafood. You can also use it to good effect in fresh salads, and in wok dishes and stews. Lemon grass is a key ingredient in many Asian dishes – think of "Tom Khaa Gai" for example, the popular Thai chicken soup made with lemon grass and coconut milk. In Indonesia and Bali too, lemon grass features in spicy pastes and creams that can also be eaten raw as dips. Lemon grass originally comes from tropical Asia; it looks like a grass with its long pointed leaves.

Only the white lower section of the stem, usually about 10 to 15 cm long, is used in cooking. Cut it into short pieces and cook it with the other ingredients. Remove any tough, fibrous bits before serving. Harder stalks can be used as sticks for chicken or prawn kebabs. Lemon grass alone or in combination also makes delicious teas and it’s the perfect flavouring for desserts and sauces. Hobby cooks will find lemon grass in well-stocked supermarkets, in Asian shops and in many delicatessen-type shops. Otherwise it’s available frozen or in powder form. Fresh lemon grass will keep for several days wrapped in newspaper in the vegetable drawer of your fridge.

Source: Heike Kreutz,

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