My Dad’s Fresh Lemongrass Tea Recipe - Viet World Kitchen (2024)

I’ve been thinking a lot about my dad these days. Not just because Father’s Day is coming up. “Bo Gia” (Old Daddy in Vietnamese) taught me to drink at too young of an age, a relative said, warning my parents that at 8 years old, I was on the path to becoming an alcoholic. (Ha! Dad watered down most stuff he handed to me.) He let me pal around with him when I was a kid, and together we explored Southern California in our blue Mercury Comet, which he purchased soon after our family arrived in America in 1975. It was used and cost around $350.

Bo Gia got me thinking big time about baguettes in around the early 80s when we came across a Vietnamese-owned bakery in El Toro, California. It was in a shopping center next to National Lumber, a home building supplies store that we frequented. Passing by the bakery, we smelled the bread and felt compelled to inquire within. Soon enough, Bo Gia was purchasing bread and croissants and befriending the Vietnamese owners who turned out to be recent immigrants from New Caledonia (a French territory off the coast of Australia).

The baguettes resembled well-tanned muscular biceps. Each one offered a crisp crust that crackled and a crumb with chewy character. It was bread that instantly took me back to Saigon. Those were the days before super lightweight baguettes became popular in Viet communities. When I was working on the bread recipe for the banh mi book, I kept going back to those particular baguettes, trying to figure out how to come close to what the New Caledonians crafted. When I finally got what I wanted and the recipe testers had worked through the recipe, I baked some for my parents. As the rolls baked, my dad said, “It smells like the bread in Saigon.” He said the same when he tasted it. Call it fatherly pride but had it not been for cruising around with him when I was young, I wouldn’t have gotten the Viet bread bug.

We shared other crazy food experiences, like buying canned pate from the Akron (a precursor to Cost Plus), croissants, eclairs, and Napoleons and trying them in the car. If we deemed them good, we’d go back inside to buy some for the rest of the family. Bo Gia used to keep a wine opener in the car for a similar purpose.

In the early 1990s, my dad had a heart attack and since then, he’s been on a strict regimen. (As a young man, he was decorated lieutenant colonel and provincial governor so military terms stay with him.) Doctors pegged that he’d have another within 10 year but he proved them wrong. Bo Gia turns 84 in December and aging just sucks. He doesn’t quite put it that way but frequently tells my husband and me about the frustrations and challenges of having a body that’s winding down. Right now, Bo Gia is mulling over bypass surgery.

Whatever he decides, my mom, siblings and I are 100 percent behind him. My friend Dr. Mike Ly reminded me the other day that the fortunate thing for us living in America is that we have options and excellent health care. These are luxuries.

Whenever Bo Gia thinks of something interesting for VWK, he shoots me an email. His tea recipe came a while back and like a squirrel, I saved it until now, when my homegrown lemongrass is looking lush. Yesterday, I followed his recipe to make a cup for a late-night sip. It’s refreshing and produced from the sharp, aromatic blades that are often discarded from the firm stalk.

If you grow your own, use those leaves!

If you’re buying lemongrass stalks from the market, use them instead, smacking the short sections with a meat tenderizer or something else equally heavy. Sweeten it with your favorite sweetener – sugar, honey, simple syrup. I used palm sugar syrup from Andy Ricker’s pantry recipe in Pok Pok.

Here’s Bo Gia’s recipe for lemongrass tea. You could call it a tisane to fancy it up but to him, it's a tea.In Vietnamese, we often refer to ourselves as a pronoun or proper noun.

During the 1950's while I was at the Dalat military academy, we Vietnamese officers had evening dinners with the French officers at their mess hall. After dinner we always had a glass of lemon grass tea with a little sugar in it. Was it for digestion or for diuretic purposes? Who knows for sure. But during hot days in Southern California, lemon grass tea really helps Bo lower my internal heat. Bo feel that the tea cleans up the kidney with its diuretic functions and Bo have found out a simplestway to make it.

Cutthe fresh leaves from the garden (as much you care to), wash them up, cut them into small pieces about 1 to 1 ½ inches long and keep in the refrigerator in a plastic container.

Whenever you like to make a tea, just take about 25 to 30 pieces, put in a traveler’s mug or a tea pot, pour in boil water and steep for 15 minutes. You’ll have a very green lemon grass tea. Bo use the traveler mug as it keeps the tea warm pretty long and that's for one person.

Take it any time or after dinner with a little sugar if you like. It's very helpful for health.

That is Bo Gia's gift to you and me. A reverse Father's Day gift.

Fathers and father figures seed ideas in us early on and they never know what those seeds will produce.

Related post: My Dad's Advice on Pairing Vietnamese Food with Beer

My Dad’s Fresh Lemongrass Tea Recipe - Viet World Kitchen (2024)


Is it OK to drink lemongrass tea everyday? ›

Lemongrass should be used in moderation. Consuming in excess may cause side effects like dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, frequent urination, increased appetite, and allergic reactions like rash and itching. Therefore, you are advised to consult a healthcare provider before using lemongrass for its health benefits.

How many cups of lemongrass tea can you drink a day? ›

The tea should have a fresh, citrusy taste. A person should start with one cup of lemongrass tea per day, then add more to their diet over the next days if they wish to. Alternatively, most grocery and health food stores sell lemongrass tea.

How do you get the most flavor out of lemongrass? ›

To release the flavorful oils, both Yun and Payumo like to bash or flatten the lemongrass stalk with a cleaver or the side of a large knife. Payumo will also sometimes bend the stalk back and forth a few times instead of smashing it to release the oils.

How to make lemon grass tea benefits? ›

Add small pieces of lemongrass into the water, and let it boil for 10 minutes. After the water is boiled, you will notice lemongrass leaves fade. Strain the tea and serve hot. Lastly, add honey to it to sweeten it.

What illness does lemongrass treat? ›

Lemongrass is used for treating digestive tract spasms, stomachache, high blood pressure, convulsions, pain, vomiting, cough, achy joints (rheumatism), fever, the common cold, and exhaustion. It is also used to kill germs and as a mild astringent.

What is the best time to drink lemon grass tea? ›

Lemongrass tea is a natural detoxifier. If you consume it on an empty stomach in the morning, it helps in flushing out the toxins present in the body. It also helps in cleaning your blood. With this you can also get rid of skin related problems.

Is lemongrass tea good for kidney and liver? ›

Country Of Origin: India • Lemongrass Tea That Helps Flush Out Toxins from Liver, Kidney, Digestive Tract And Bladder. It Contains Several Antioxidants Which May Help Prevent Dysfunction Of Cells Inside Coronary Arteries. The Blend Used In Lemongrass Tea Has Great Healing Ability And Acts As A Perfect Calming Herb.

Is lemongrass tea good for high blood pressure? ›

It may help reduce high systolic blood pressure

Those who drank the lemongrass tea experienced a moderate drop in systolic blood pressure and a mild increase in diastolic blood pressure. They also had a significantly lower heart rate.

What does lemongrass tea do for your stomach? ›

Additionally, lemongrass tea is a very good way to relieve stomach cramps, and it is recommended in cases of constipation and diarrhea. It has a mild antibacterial effect capable of sweeping off pathogenic bacteria from your colon and improving your gut health.

Is lemongrass better fresh or dried? ›

Fresh lemongrass is definitely best, giving foods a more citrusy, bright and minty flavour. Whereas dried lemongrass makes foods taste more woody, and tends to lose its flavour faster. If you're cooking a stir-fry or curry, opt for fresh lemongrass.

How do you activate lemongrass? ›

How to prepare lemongrass. You can use lemongrass whole, sliced or pounded to a paste. To use whole, slice off the very bottom of the stalk, and peel off any dried-out layers, then bash the woody top end with a rolling pin to soften, and help release some of the aromatic oils.

Can I mix lemongrass and turmeric? ›

This lemongrass tea with turmeric is the perfect blend of calming herbs. The lemongrass in this tea is rich in anti-oxidants and calms the body. This tea also contains ginger which is good for boosting the immune system and helps to fight cold and flu.

Does lemongrass repel mosquitoes? ›

Q: Does lemon grass keep mosquitoes away? A: Yes, lemon grass contains citronella oil, which is a natural mosquito repellent.

Can lemongrass tea help you lose weight? ›

Can you lose weight with Lemongrass Tea? Lemongrass is most often steeped to make a tea or used as a seasoning. While it has been used as a folk remedy for stomach problems and as a sedative, it does not seem to have a direct impact on weight loss.

Does lemongrass tea detox your body? ›

The Detox Benefits of Lemongrass Tea:

In the case of lemongrass tea, Brisebois says the herbs help in invigorating digestion, have antioxidant properties, and are a diuretic this expands the amount and recurrence of urination, which helps in purifying and flushing harmful toxic wastes out of the body.

Does lemongrass help belly fat? ›

Lemongrass has long been used in traditional medicine as a natural way to help reduce belly fat. Studies have shown that lemongrass essential oil can help to reduce the size of fat cells and promote the breakdown of stored fat.

How many times can I drink lemongrass tea? ›

Drinking Lemongrass tea (kadha) twice a day helps in weight loss as it removes toxins from the body and improves metabolism. Applying Lemongrass oil to the skin in combination with some carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil helps to get relief from pain and swelling due to its anti-inflammatory property.


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