Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Sweet Scent of Lemongrass

photos and article by: Spatulasaurus

So there I was, sitting at EAT Thai Restaurant on 81st and 3rd with Pastor Ladle, as the waiter placed our food on the table. She ordered the Pad Thai and I the Green Curry, one of my favorites.
As I dug into the curry, I savored the familiar flavors of coconut milk, cilantro, and lemongrass. Upon my 18th bite, I thought to myself, "Hey, I could make this!" Maybe it was the new sense of culinary confidence I developed from completing a difficult Jamie Oliver recipe. Or maybe I was inspired by an episode of No Reservations in Vietnam where Anthony Bourdain tasted a bevy of mouth-watering Eastern Asian dishes. Or maybe I just wanted to cook something green.
Whatever it was, that night I googled "Thai Green Curry" and clicked on the first hit. It was from About.com. Lemongrass, coriander, lime juice, etc., process it all together... Looked easy enough.
I kept the page open on my browser for a good week until finally, when deciding what to cook for Staff Dinner (it was my day), I knew that it was time.
I made my way over to Asian Mart in South Avenue on Staten Island and got my ingredients.
Lemongrass, chicken, garlic, cilantro, ground coriander, cumin, coconut milk, fish sauce, shrimp paste, brown sugar, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, lime juice, and ginger. It all came out to 28$ (considering we have about 6 very large mouths to feed here at the Office). Keeping my laptop very close, I opened up the recipe page, put some music on, and got to work.

Here are some photos of the process:
As I was chopping the lemongrass, the fragrance was sweet and floral. When I processed it with the garlic, cumin, coriander, ginger, and coconut milk, the scent was heavenly. By far, the smell is the best part of cooking this dish.
I had to get two burners going, of course, to compensate for the hungry bodies.

When I began the curry paste, I was very specific in the amount of each ingredient according to the recipe and carefully measured out tablespoons and 1/4 cups. As I was tasting while the chicken and vegetables were cooking, I kept noticing something missing and from then on, I threw all caution out the window and decided to improvise: I tossed in random splashes of fish oil and lime juice and generous dashes of brown sugar and salt, until it had that Green Curry essence.
Now tell me that doesn't look delicious! And to my pleasant surprise, it was. The rest of the staff guys loved it and went back for thirds.
I now have a brand new dish under my belt and a new addition to our Staff Dinner Menu!
And of course, no dish is ever complete without Rooster Sauce.

To try your own culinary hand, here's the recipe I used.


  1. man, i wish i was there to try some! looks soooo good!

  2. wow, very impressive~
    i think our small group might wanna taste test that recipe too~ right p. ladle~ lol~

  3. oh i love curry! never tried one that was green before tho!

  4. is the long green thing the lemongrass? what's it smell like?
    it looks really yummy though. i love the colors :)

  5. yup, the long green thing is lemongrass. it smells like a really sweet herb. soooo good. the fragrance gets released as you chop it.

  6. spatulasaurus, that looks amazing! man, you guys are stepping up your cooking game. i love it! :D