I plant a lot of stuff in my garden that we can use in our cooking.
Of course, we can always go out and buy but they sell, for instance, serai (lemon grass) tied in a bundle for RM2.00 and we may use 2 or 3 stalks only and the rest would be thrown away. It is the same when we buy spring onions, RM2.00 and we can only use so much – keeping the rest in the fridge doesn’t help much. It will wither pretty fast and has to be discarded very soon…and don’t ask me how much they are selling pandan leaves for. I wouldn’t know because I never buy those – I have a lot more in my garden than we can use.
One thing that I did not plant was lengkuas (galangal) and I had a very good reason for that. When we bought our house, the previous owner had it in the backyard and it was growing out of control, even under the fence into my neighbour’s compound. I had to get some people to come to dig it all out, roots and all, to throw away so it would never ever grow again.
Usually, my missus would buy, say, RM2.00 worth, for use and store the rest in the freezer so she could have it as and when needed. We do not use a lot of lengkuas in our cooking, just a bit will do as the strong smell can be quite overpowering. It so happened that the other day, she had run out of it and she had not gone out to buy more so she asked me if I had any in the one that I planted.
Yes, I have it in a pot…
I planted it when my neighbour harvested his and gave me some and I saw a chunk that was already sprouting. I planted it in a small pot and it grew and grew so I transplanted it into a bigger pot. No, I shall not plant it in the ground as this way, I can keep it under control but perhaps, I should transfer it to be a bigger pot so there may be a lot more beneath the soil.
There are supposed to be a lot more leaves than that but because the pot is so small and the stems grow so straight and so tall, everytime there is a strong wind, it would topple over. Trimming away the leaves seems to help.
So, that day, when my missus asked for it, I went to dig and see and yes, there was a lot! I just cut a chunk for her to use and then I went to get a few big fat stalks of serai and some Thai basil leaves for her.
She needed them to cook this lovely Thai green curry…
…for our meals that day.
I don’t know if it is purely psychological but it seems that using these fresh ingredients, whatever one is cooking will turn out a whole lot nicer, compared to using stuff that has been stored in the freezer for ages.