Lemongrass Tea

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

The scientific name for lemongrass is cymbopogon, and the species commonly found in parts of Africa is called cymbopogon citratus. Lemongrass (and lemongrass oil) are important herbal remedies in Africa and have been widely studied: the grass is used medicinally to treat illnesses from colds to fever to acne to cancer. It is also said to be an insect and snake repellant. My husband’s mother in Ghana always had fresh lemongrass growing in the garden for tea. He remembers loving it with milk and sugar.

Health considerations aside, it can be enjoyed just for its wonderful delicate citrus flavor. Though it pales in comparison to fresh lemongrass, tea can also be made from dried lemongrass available in health food stores.

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh lemongrass stalk for 2 people or 1 tablespoon dried lemongrass per person*

Method

Directions

  1. If using fresh lemongrass, wash it and trim the ends, peeling away the outer leaves. With a sharp knife, chop the inner leaves and stalk into small pieces to get 2 tablespoons of loosely packed leaves (or more) for each cup. (After making it once, adjust the amount of leaves to taste.)
  2. Pour boiling water over the leaves in a cup or teapot and leave it covered for several minutes to steep. Lemongrass tea does not get bitter if it steeps for a long time. If desired, strain out the tea leaves when serving.

To serve

Serve plain or add evaporated or other milk and/or sugar or honey to taste. Some people add a little fresh ginger when brewing it. This tea goes well with Twisted Cakes or Ghana-style Doughnuts (Togbei/Bofrot).

Variation

Some recipes suggest boiling the lemongrass in the pot with the water, as one would for chai.