Saturday, 16 October 2010

The green green grass goes home

 































 As I write, the departure hall in Faro airport is about to become aromatised. A woman with a scented suitcase is about to pass through baggage handling."Excuse me madam, did you pack this bag yourself, have you left it unattended at any time?- Are you planning on cooking a Thai green curry madam? Holds up the incriminating evidence three stalks of Lemongrass.

As our guest was checking out this morning, she questioned the strong aroma that was coming from the kitchen. "What are you preparing she asked"- I informed her I was making Thai pork burgers. "What's the seasoning?" Chilli, lemongrass, shallots, coriander, fish sauce, soya sauce.The pale spiky plant that is Lemongrass grows in Asia and Australia. To my great surprise and delight I discovered I could grow it succesfully here in the kitchen garden at Casa Rosada. It has now grown to ornamental proportions. I offered to pick her some stalks and she leapt at the offer. A perfect seasoning for her sunday lunch to share with her son back in London tomorrow. I trimmed the stalks for her and bagged her up a bag of dried lemongrass tea. Before you could say badda bing she had it firmly planted in her suitcase and she was off to the airport. Tonight with no guests in the house we are going to be couch potatoes. TV dinner of Thai Burgers with home made chilli coriander jam. Will there be a Thai breaker in Strictly or Will Louis Walsh put a finger in the factor and allow the public to decide?- Whatever.......

One of my many perfect TV dinners - 
Nigel Slater´s Thai pork burger

serves 2

500g minced pork
1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
2 small hot chillies, Piri Piri or Birds eye
Large handful of fresh coriander
2 sticks of lemongrass, trimmed of its tough outer stalks and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
1 shallot peeled and finely chopped
Hamburger buns or baps
2 tablespoons groundnut oil
Home made tomato chutney, hamburger relish, chilli coriander jam
or if you cant be arsed just plain Heinz tomato ketchup!!!!

Put the minced pork in a bowl. add the soya and fish sauces. Put the chillies, coriander, lemongrass, garlic and shallot in the food processor and chop as finely as you can. Add the mixture to the pork and season with salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and with floured hands mix into four flat patties. Set aside, the longer the better. Warm the oil in a non-stick frying pan. When the oil is hot, put the patties in in the pan and let them cook for a minute or two until the underside is golden, then flip them over carefully. Continue cooking for a minute, and then turn the heat down, cover the pan and cook for 4 minutes. Drian on kitchen paper and serve.

I adapt this recipe to make meatballs or small tapas.

Other ideas with lemongrass

Lemongrass marinade
Prawn marinade
Lemongrass and lentil soup
Grilled lemongrass chicken
Lemongrass dressing
Lemongrass fried rice

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