Until fairly recently, Lemon grass was grown in India. Today, you’ll find it spreading its silky, fragrant leaves beneath the Ko’olau mountains in Waimanalo. Farmer Dean Okimoto grows the herb for local chefs, who use it in everything from Thai cusine to Pacific Rim and regional dishes.
Alan Wong recently created this simple, warming broth, using lemon grass as the base. Add some locally grown chili peppers if you really want to turn up the heat.
Lemongrass ‘tea’ With Tofu And Mitsuba Recipe Courtesy Alan Wong.
2 cups Ichiban Dashi
4 stalks Lemon Grass (cut off dried woody tops; only use the bulb, peel off outer dried layer), smashed 4 Kaffir Lime Leaves 1 Hawaiian Chili Pepper *
2 Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
1 Thinly sliced Ginger
Salt To Taste
Tofu Mitsuba (Trefoil, Japanese Wild Chervil)
Bring the Ichiban Dashi to a boil, add the ingredients like a tea, and steep for a half hour. Strain the broth. Pour into a bowl with a cube of tofu and garnish with a thin slice of fresh lemon grass and one Mitsuba leaf or green onion (sliver). You may also use ingredients other than tofu that you would typically serve in a broth. (*) If you don’t like it too spicy, you can reduce the amount or omit the chili altogether; or use another type of chili with less heat (i.e., Jalapeno).
(Katsuo Dashi or Bonito Soup Stock) – as written by Muriel Miura-Kaminaka in ‘The Legacy of the Japanese in Hawaii: Cuisine’
YIELD: 4 CUPS
5 cups Water
1 cup Katsuobushi (Bonito shavings)
5 inches Dashi Konbu (Kelp)
Wipe dashi konbu with a wet cloth and make 3 or 4 slits lengthwise. Place konbu in cold water and cook over medium heat. Remove konbu when water comes to a boil (to prevent strong odor of konbu from affecting the flavor of the clear soup).
Add bonito flakes and when water starts to boil again, turn off heat. Allow flakes to settle to bottom. Strain stock through a layer of cloth. Do not squeeze or boil vigorously as stock will become cloudy.