Lemongrass (香茅) is a popular herb used in many Asian cooking, especially for Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisines. It has a refreshing citrus flavour with a hint of ginger. It blends very well with garlic, chillies and cilantro, hence is widely used in making soup, curries, marinade and stir-fry dishes. It is also used to flavour tea, drinks, baked goods, desserts and pastries. Essential oil extracted from lemongrass is an excellent natural mosquito repellent. The oil is also used for making other non-food related products like candles, perfumes, soap, insecticide, disinfectant, household cleaner and deodorant. Apart from its aromatic scent, lemongrass is known to provide numerous health benefits, such as:
Don’t you think lemongrass is such a wondrous herb to be added to our diet?
Lemongrass is an ingredient I always want to try cooking for my family. But, to my disappointment, most of the recipes using lemongrass are spicy, hence not ideal for toddlers. When I chanced upon a Vietnamese lemongrass chicken recipe in Rasa Malaysia’s blog, I loved the simplicity of the recipe. It was easy-to-follow and did not require many ingredients. To make it a more kids-friendly version, I gave the recipe a tweak by substituting the curry powder with both turmeric powder and paprika. (Did I ever mention that turmeric powder is my favourite spice? It is another great spice that has many health benefits too. One example is curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is known as an anti-inflammatory agent. If you want to learn more about the health benefits of turmeric, please refer to this link . )
When making the caramelized sugar, be sure to watch it closely. Once the sugar is dissolved and begins to darken, it will start to boil very quickly. Don’t panic if your caramelized sugar has hardened after cooling off. There is way to “rescue” it. You just have to reheat the pan slowly to re-liquify the caramelized sugar.
Even with my modified version, the recipe didn’t lose its shine. My family enjoyed it very much as it tasted fabulous!!! When I was stir-frying the dish, my son was so intrigued with the distinctive aroma of lemongrass that filled the kitchen. The lemongrass adds a wonderful fragrant and citrus flavour to the dish. The marinade chicken is richly flavoured by garlic and spices. The taste is also further enhanced by the perfect sweet and salty combination of fish sauce and caramel sauce. It’s really another recommended stir-fry dish that pairs well with steamed warm rice.
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