Xả gừng literally translates to lemongrass and ginger. I love lemongrass, and the flavor it imparts to the drink is very pleasant and refreshing on a hot day.
Lemongrass (xả) is very common in Vietnamese cuisine. It is considered a mild diuretic, tonic and stimulant. Lemongrass is typically sold in packs of 5 stalks, and can be quite expensive. Last year, I asked Lulu whether we could grow it at home, and in response he planted 4 "bushes". They are doing quite well, and since it is a perennial, we keep getting fresh stalks. If you’re planning on cooking a lot of Asian cuisine, consider investing in some lemongrass.
1. Info for Ginger Lemongrass Drink
- Cook Time: unavailable
- Total Time: unavailable
- Servings: 6
- Calories: unavailable
2. Ingredients for Ginger Lemongrass Drink
- 2-1/2 cups superfine sugar, to taste
- 5 cups water
- 1/4 cup palm sugar
- 1 quart ice cubes
- 4 stalks lemongrass, + extra for garnish
- 2 chunks ginger, about 3 inches
- 1/4 cup crystallized candied ginger, cut in half
- For the lemongrass: Wash the lemongrass. Remove all the white powder from the leaves and also a few outer leaves. Cut the stalks in half and crush them with the back of a chef’s knife. Cut the remaining stalk into extremely thin slices using a chef’s knife. In a mortar and pestle, grind the thin slices of lemongrass, then transfer and mix everything using a mini food processor. It should turn into a fine moist powder. Set aside.
- For the ginger: Clean the ginger, carefully removing any dirt. You don’t have to peel it. Thinly slice both chunks. Set aside. For the lemongrass water: Combine the water and lemongrass powder. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Filter through a fine sieve. For the caramel syrup: In a sauce pan, melt the sugar without any water over high heat. It’s important to carefully watch the sugar; as soon as the edges of the pan start caramelizing, immediately lower the heat to medium-low. Gently jiggle the saucepan in circles. Do not use a spoon! Lower the heat to the lowest setting when there are only a few remaining non-caramelized pieces. Don’t let the sugar get dark brown or you’ll get a burnt taste. Assembly time: When all the sugar is an amber color, remove from the heat, pause for about a minute (be careful of splattering when the water is added), then slowly add the boiling lemongrass water, palm sugar, fresh ginger and candied ginger. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Bring back to a full boil then let simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from the stove and cool completely.
- Serve in tall glasses with ice; stir well and garnish with a stalk of lemongrass. Enjoy with tea cakes or cookies.
- Time to relax!