Splendor in the Lemongrass

There is a first time for everything. 

Last night I cooked with lemongrass. Well, my daughter Fanny did and I helped. It was one of our wonderful Dad and daughter dinners that we planned all week. She had come home from Wilmington to hang out with me during the weekend. We knew we wanted to cook something new and the scent of Thai food was in our collective consciousness.

Lemongrass chicken curry with eggplant, red pepper and Fanny's special touch
So we made a brief trip to Whole Foods and gathered the necessary ingredients I have never cooked with lemongrass but was familiar with the fragrance and the taste. Lemongrass looks like leeks and you have to peel back some of the outer layers to get to the center stalk that you can chop or grate. The scent is celestial and out of this world. It smells like sweet lemon but with a delicacy that is distinctive.
Cooking with Lemongrass 
Here is the recipe for what Fanny cooked for me. We served the lemongrass chicken curry over organic brown jasmine rice. 
Ingredients (For two)
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, halved and sliced (or shallots which we prefer and used)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt, optional
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 whole boneless chicken breasts cut into cubes
1 tablespoon minced fresh hot red chili peppers
 4 stalks lemongrass, green tops removed then pale ends finely chopped
1 small eggplant sliced into strips
1 small red pepper sliced into strips
2 tablespoons curry powder
4 tablespoons fish sauce
4 ounces unsweetened coconut milk
1 bunch fresh cilantro

Cube the chicken breast. Pan sauté gently in vegetable oil. Lightly add salt and pepper. When cooked, take it off heat and place in a bowl or plate.
Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the half the onion and all the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until both begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the salt, black pepper, sugar and the chopped ginger. Add the red pepper and eggplant and sauté it until soft. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar melts and the onion mixture begins to brown. We used shallots instead of onions.
Add the remaining onion, the chili peppers, lemon grass, curry powder, fish sauce and coconut milk. Stir, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink at the center, about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer (adjusting the heat if necessary) until the sauce thickens and the chicken is tender, about 10 minutes more.

Serve warm garnished with fresh cilantro. 
We drank a wine called Atrea. It is a blend of organic roussanne and viognier grapes. The wine is from Mendoccino county. 

Go ahead. Thai one on. 

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