Kitchen & Pantry

It was by accident that I discovered how to make the tastiest broth


We were expecting company this weekend so I thought I’d make simple syrup and have it ready for mixing cocktail drinks. I do like infusing simple syrup with aromatics but I wanted it extra aromatic this time so I added lemongrass, pandan and kaffir lime leaves.

I was left with a few extra stalks of lemongrass, I thought about storing them in the fridge but, knowing how fast lemongrass loses its potent aroma, I decided to use them instead. There were two huge chunks of beef neck simmering on the stove to which I was going to add potatoes and cabbage later. I tossed the lemongrass stalks into the pot, then, I went out to the garden, picked more kaffir lime leaves from the tree and threw them into the pot with the beef as well.

Well, why not? Don’t Vietnamese cooks add lemongrass when making broth? If broth with lemongrass is good, surely, broth with lemongrass AND kaffir lime leaves would be even better. Still, I knew it was a risk. My boiled beef and vegetables could turn out to be inedible. But what the heck? Not guts, no glory, as the saying goes.

And… the decision to go with my guts paid off. Never in my entire life has nilagang baka tasted so good. I’m sure it helped that I simmered the meat had a generously sized bone. And I’m sure that it helped even more that I simmered it in broth rather than plain water.

But beyond the meaty richness, the added citrusy taste and aroma from the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves was a symphony to the senses. The broth was phenomenal. I swear I will never ever again make broth without lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. It’s a good thing that both of them grow profusely in the garden. I’ll need that constant supply.

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