Lemongrass grows freely in my garden, as it does in India, and it is used to add fragrance and that beautiful lemon flavour to salads, rice and S.E. Asian dishes. But in India its use in cooking is limited despite its availability. It features mainly in drinks and soups, such as this fragrant tomato soup.
Here it is used in a simple but elegant chai – a lemon grass bulb and an Indian tea bag or loose leaf tea. Jaggery or rock sugar is used to sweeten the tea, and it can be taken with or without milk. It is a wonderfully refreshing tea on a warm Summer afternoon or evening. I encourage you to try it.
Take a bulb of lemongrass, and chop the bulb and leaves into 8 cm lengths. Take the thick bulb end and slice it in quarters, or better still, hit it with something hard to squash it so that its oils can be released. A pestle from your mortar and pestle set is a good weapon for this.
Pour boiling water over your lemongrass and tea bag(s), and allow to brew for 5 minutes. Sweeten as desired, add milk, and be thankful for life and all that it contains.
recipe notes and alternatives
An alternative way to make this tea is to add the tea bag and lemongrass to boiling water, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add your sweetener and milk, and simmer again for 5 minutes (add as much milk as you did water). Remove the tea bag and lemongrass and serve.