Lemongrass

The English name for this herb comes easily from the lemony aroma it gives off, especially when cooked. Along with fresh lime juice, it is the key ingredient in the ever-popular Tom Yum soup, as well as with many other Thai dishes. The oil that gives the plant its aroma is supposed to be a good cure for upset stomach and indigestion. Lemongrass juice, or tea, is a popular herbal drink in Thai traditional medicine. The tea also makes for a natural insect repellent that can be used to water house plants to discourage bugs. Since only the white bulbous base of the stalk is used in cooking, the tea is an excellent way to make use of the rest of the lemongrass stalks.

Lemongrass

The same stalls which sell galangal usually also carry lemongrass which is called ta-krai in Thai. The two end up together in a number of recipes. At the wholesale market, you will see large bundles of lemongrass on sale, bound together with string or strips of dried banana tree bark. The stall owners will sell the bundles whole for less than a dollar. You may also spot smaller bundles with just a few stalks of lemongrass bound together with a few slices of galangal and some kaffir lime leaves.

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