Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lemongrass Tea with Brown Sugar

Today's recipe is not so much a soup but a drink! And this one comes with its own little story.

One day, many moons ago, I was at the Tropical Spice Garden. This was at Teluk Bahang, almost near the end of the tourist hotel strip.

My sis, cousin and I decided to lunch there, not knowing what we would find. But adventurous girls that we were, we headed there, despite the oncoming drizzle.

It didn't help that my sis and cousin were in 'urban attire' - short skirt, shorts, heels. It was a bit of a climb up to the cafe of the spice garden (which by the way is a must-see for horticulture fans. It's a spice garden so it's full of plants and herbs for the green fan.) I'd been on the spice garden walk years ago so we skipped that. We were there for the grub.

Which wasn't much and that itself was a disappointment. The cafe basically served as a snack and beverage corner though the view of the sea off Batu Feringgi was amazing. Imagine, post-rain, the aquamarine sea.

The sandwiches were palatable. But what I loved were the drinks. Made with spices and herbs, the drink menu attracted me, particularly the lemongrass drink.

I ordered that and it was the best thing that day.

Best of all, it was a thirst quencher and a mosquito repellant. I say repellant because no mozzie came near me throughout the time we were lounging at the open air cafe. This is tropical Malaysia and mozzies are everywhere, and it had just rained so my sis and cousin yelped in agony each time a mozzie bit them. Or the mozzie just buzzed around them, annoying them totally.

As I had just drunked my lemongrass tea, I was mozzie-free!

The aromatic and citrusy lemongrass shrub, if planted around your home, dispels mozzies. The oil extracted from lemongrass, citronella, is a key ingredient in most mosquite repellant sprays, candles and rubs.

But more than that, lemongrass tea is so easy to make. Its health benefits are plenty, According to a Buzzle article:

[It's] a good cleanser that helps to detoxify the Liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder and the digestive tract...cuts down uric acid, cholesterol, excess fats and other toxins in the body while stimulating digestion, blood circulation, and lactation...alleviates indigestion and gastroenteritis...helps improve the skin by reducing acne and pimples and acts as a muscle and tissue toner... reduce blood pressure.

This is my lemongrass tea recipe. I drink it warm but you can cool it and add ice.

2 stalks fresh lemongrass, washed and sliced thickly
1/2 stick of brown sugar (available from Chinese shops - this is brown sugar made from sugarcane and comes in flat sticks)
5 cups water

Put all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve warm.

That's it.This is not a very sweet tea. If it is not sweet enough, you can add more brown sugar, perhaps a whole stick of it.

Your own fresh lemongrass tea, perfect for a Saturday afternoon as you read your favourite novel.

*** You might want to read this for more uses of lemongrass.
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