Saturday, June 16, 2012

Growing Cha Paati

In Koli lemongrass is called Cha Paati or Tea blade getting its name from the one big use as a flavoring in the morning nectar. In Marathi it gets the name Gavati Chaha again from the fact that it is a grass and its use in tea. To visiting friends, an offer to share a cup of lemongrass tea always ends up into extended conversations. Many simply love the citrus laced flavor that it imparts. In a cup of tea, it can brighten your day like nothing. The aromatics in it lift the mood. It's antifungal, disinfectant properties does wonders for those treacherous sore throats and coughing bouts. Though in India we use only the blades, the bulb has found a place of pride in oriental cooking especially the soups and the strongest flavor does lie in the lower end of the grass.

This grass was potted by my bro Sumeet. The day he wants to bribe me he promises me a cup of his specially brewed lemongrass tea. Men who were trying to woo me some how found this as a ply after reading this post is my guess. They sweared to make me a cup of lemongrass cha every single morning. If that was the only thing that I looked for in a man I would have been married long time ago. Such is the effect of lemongrass.
Planting and Growing lemongrass is very easy. Like any grass it just proliferates without any effort in the tropics. Lemongrass is native to India and found in many South Asian countries. The best thing is, its a perennial.
    1. S used a large 10 litre pot for planting lemongrass.
    2. Ensure there is a small hole in the bottom of the pot for draining excess water.
    3. Layer the bottom with an inch or two of gravel.
    4. The growing media is planting soil with just a few handfuls of compost.
    5. He had got a bulb of lemon grass that he just stuck into the soil.
    6. Sprinkle water to moisten the soil. Do this every day, about 1/2 litre of water a day is good to keep it lush.
    7. Ensure enough sunlight, more the better.
    8. When the lemongrass grows more that 2 feet tie it up so that the blades don't spread around making the plant look like a weed.
Tip: 
Saee suggested trimming the tips of the blades to get a denser aromatic content.

Harvest :
Clip the ends to use fresh. Once in six months trim about 1 foot length of the tips of the grass.

The grass can be cut into bits and spread on a plastic sheet. Dry in the shade to use later. The good thing is, it retains the aromatic oils on drying and can be used in the same way as fresh lemongrass.

Some uses:
  • Infuse your drinks with lemongrass like I did in MaTha.
  • Make a Kora Cha to jump start your day.
  • Make an ayurvedic disinfectant by crushing lemongrass and sprinkling on your compost.
  • Use it in Oriental cooking to add the special touch of home grown.

The bundled magic

 
It's the season, I am enjoying my weekend...a mid morning sipper of Kora Cha... a book in hand in my nook in the Green Balcony

    6 comments:

    1. love love love this green balcony Anjali. wish to go there sometime and sip our lemongrass tea sometime. am trying to grow it in pot too. gave maa a bunch and she now has a huge bush in her backyard. I mainly try this in curries will try your chai recipe very very soon.
      love

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. You will love it Sayantani, I am looking forward to the day when you come over and we can cook up a storm and I'll make endless cups of tea, promise.

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    2. So nice to be looking out to enjoy the lush greenery outside enjoying a cup of cha!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I make it possible on weekends, my Dad likes his at the table everyday.

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    3. what a nice post Anjali..I love gavati chaha!! Wish we could get some fresh lemongrass here in US, I too could give it a try :(

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I think you should try the asian stores there and it grows easily whether in pots or the ground.

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