Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lemon Grass (Takka Tana/ Gavathi Chaha/ Nimbe Hullu)

Lemon Grass is an interesting herb with lot of healing and soothing properties. It is known as Gavathi Chaha in Marathi (Gavat = Grass, Chaha = Tea), Takka Tana in GSB Konkani, Nimbe Hullu in Kannada. The oil present in Lemon Grass, also known as Lemon Grass oil is endowed with lot of anti-bacterial properties and is used in lot of perfumes, oils, incense sticks on a commercial basis. From a culinary standpoint, they are of Indonesian native origin and find wide spread use in soups, stews, curries and herbal teas.

Many years back, I treated my Mom on her birthday with yummy Indonesian & Vietnamese food. We both loved the version of soup we had; recreating those memories we attempted adding this strong smelling herb to soups now and relish the flavour. Some time back, I found the fresh version of thin, stalks of this grass in a Chinese grocery store. The stalks are sold in a bundle of 3-4. They are also available in Indian ethnic stores here both as a powder or as a dried herb. Mom adds a stalk or two to add that extra zing to a hot cuppa Tea or Chai. I prefer using the young, fresh stalks as they can be easily used to unfuse flavour into liquids of choice. Apart from Tea, I prefer adding them in Kashayam, a herbal drink popular in Konkan/ Konkani household.

On a separate note, Konkani Foodie celebrates its 3rd Anniversary today! I am very elated when I take a step back and look at the journey traversed in a span of three years. The journey has been worthwhile and in restrospect, I have been able to learn a lot about food and nutrition which helps me when I plan meals, cook large batches of food, bake a cake or for that matter plan my grocery list. I also want to thank my Mom and my readers who offer intelligent input and feedback which enables me to learn, improvise and progress.

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