I have to tell the truth. I’ve never used lemongrass. I do know what it looks like, but I am what you would call a novice in the cuisine of Thailand. In my ongoing quest to try new recipes I decided to try a dish from the August issue of Food & Wine-Thai Curried Noodles with Pork and Basil and there it was-I needed 2 large stalks of lemongrass.
Of course my local market had only one packet with lemongrass and it was dried up and pathetic looking. Off to another store and after much searching, I found a few stalks shoved behind a large display of lettuce. Armed with my purchase I got to work, not even sure of what to do with the stalks. Luckily the recipe called for using the tender inner bulb, so I peeled away some of the stalk and got to work. The first thing that I noticed was the incredible aroma. It was clean, lemony and fresh smelling. Into the processor it went with some ginger and and much to my surprise it was easy to puree.
The dish turned out to be a winner and one that I would make again. The flavors were just what I was hoping for and I have some of the lemongrass left over so I’ll be on the hunt for another recipe to try. Who knows, Thai food may just be my new passion. Only kidding, my heart belongs to Italy!
Thai Curried Noodles with Pork and Basil
3 medium carrots, cut into thin matchsticks
2 lemongrass stalks, tender inner bulbs only, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3/4 pound ground pork
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha chile sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
10 ounces thin egg noodles, preferably Chinese
1/2 cup chopped basil, preferably Thai
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a medium saucepan, bring 1-1/2 cups water to boil. Add the carrots and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots to a plate. Reserve the cooking water.
In a mini food processor, puree the lemongrass with the ginger and sugar.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the canola oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring until golden brown. Add the lemongrass mixture and cook stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the ground pork and cook, breaking up the meat, until no pink remains, about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the red curry paste, Sriracha and lime juice and turn off the heat.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the noodles until al dente. Add the noodles, carrots and reserved carrot cooking water to the skillet and toss over moderate heat until the noodles are thoroughly coated. Add the basil, season with salt and pepper and serve. Serves: 4
Be sure to click on Cook with Panini Girl in Italy up above my header to see what I’ll be doing next spring!