lemon grass and other stuff in your food

The other day, someone on Ask MetaFilter asked how to cut lemon grass for a spicy Thai sauce. They had been slaving away using a sharpened chef’s knife chopping up the hard and fibrous grass, and wondered whether there was a better way.

Some people answered that the best way probably would be to use the grass as one would use bay leaves. I was a little astonished that there was no greater consensus about this advice. Of course one uses lime leaves, Indonesian bay leaves, lemon grass and other fragrant fibrous matter in this way. Some day in the Hague, I even fished huge chunks of uncut ginger root out of my Nasi Rames. For generalization’s sake: One of the things about exotic food is that one should be prepared for bits of stuff.

I once found a large, pulled-out iron nail in my Indian curry, which had not been mentioned in the menu. The waiter then took the plate away without a word and charged me the whole amount for the dish. Spices are expensive.

(Sometimes one can buy dried and pulverized lemon grass. Like dried parsley, basil, garlic, or ginger, it has little in common with the fresh product and should be forgotten.)

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