Why it Works: Look to Lemongrass
Once a mysterious ingredient in Thai restaurants, lemongrass is now available in many supermarkets. Resembling a green reed, lemongrass is an ancient herb of Southeast Asia. Its flavor is reminiscent of citrus, bay leaves and pepper, and cuts through the more pungent ingredients of Thai cooking. As with lots of herbs, it's the oils in the lemon grass taht hold all the flavor, so you may want to crush the stalk before you chop it in this recipe.
Recipe Rx: Cutting the Grass
At first, lemon grass doesnt' even look edible. However, with a few easy steps it will be ready for this recipe. First, pick a stalk that is thick, heavy and not overly woody and has no brown discoloration. Make sure it has a delicate citrus perfume and the bulb is tightly bound together. Next, use a knife or your fingernails to remove the thick outer leaves. You should see a tender white/yellow inner stalk. Slice this stalk into very thin circles and then use the side of your knife to lightly crush the slices. This releases the oils and the flavor from the stalk. The tough outer leaves can cleaned and added to Thai accent; just remember to discard before eating.