Saturday, November 27, 2010

0 Recipe #201: Lemongrass-Galangal Tea

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This is a super quick & easy tea to make. It takes about 8 minutes to boil & then it's ready to drink. The mild, subtly lemony flavor of the lemongrass goes perfectly with the bolder, slightly peppery taste of the galangal.

My favorite way to drink this tea is with just a bit of creamer. And then other times, I'll be in the mood to have it with lime or lemon juice instead. In my opinion, this tea doesn't really taste good with sweetener, but if sweet lemongrass tea's your thing, then feel free to add it.

Both lemongrass & galangal have many health benefits. Both are often taken as remedies for colds, fevers, infections (particularly respiratory infections), & various digestive & gastrointestinal problems. Not surprisingly, galangal has been known to inhibit various types of pathogenic bacteria. Lemongrass also has antibacterial (as well as antifungal) properties as well. Both help boost the immune system and may also possibly guard against cancer.

That being said, I'd nonetheless like to mention one important advisory about galangal before you decide to use it: Please be aware that women who are pregnant or are breast-feeding are strongly advised against ingesting dishes & drinks containing galangal. When consumed in copious amounts, galangal has been known to produce hallucinogenic effects in some people & can also interfere with the therapeutic effects of various medications & acid-inhibiting drugs (like antacids, etc.). So if any of these issues apply to you, you should probably consult a medical professional before cooking with galangal.

If you are still unsure whether or not you'll be affected by any of the above issues, you can always leave out the galangal & just boil the lemongrass by itself when making the tea. It'll still taste good. Or, you can just substitute regular ginger for the galangal; however, if you decide to do that, make sure to only add only one tablespoon of ginger (instead of the 2 Tbsp. listed in the below recipe). Otherwise, the ginger will totally overpower the tea.

Anyhow, now that the legal disclaimers are out of the way, here's the recipe. :)

Lemongrass-Galangal Tea

5 c. water
4 large stalks of fresh lemongrass, ends trimmed, outer layers removed, quartered crosswise, & pounded with a meat mallet (to release their essence)
2 Tbsp. fresh galangal root (a.k.a. "Thai ginger"), left unpeeled & sliced into 1/4" slivers (or small chunks) (about 2" piece)
freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, to taste (optional)
nondairy light creamer, to taste (optional)
honey, to taste (optional)

Directions: Add the lemongrass, the galangal, & 4 c. water to a medium-sized sauce pot or tea kettle, & bring to a rolling boil, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to steep for another 1-2 minutes, strain to remove whole herbs & spices, & then pour into a tea pot. (If it's easier, use heat-proof tongs first to remove the larger pieces of lemongrass & galangal before straining.) Pour into tea cups, add desired amount of lime (or lemon) juice, creamer, &/or honey, and serve hot.

Yield: Makes about 4-6 servings.

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