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Thai Stir-Fried Asparagus with Lemongrass

Thai Stir-Fried Asparagus with Lemongrass recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Spring showers on the island are yellow.

As quickly as the bright golden-yellow flowers explode on the giant Angsana trees, they have already fallen, transforming paths and streets into yellow brick roads. But not all signs of spring in Penang – an island where time stands still under a year-round blazing sun – are as unmistakable and striking.  A walk through the Botanic Gardens reveals the subtlety of a tropical spring with a hint of fresher, more fragrant air.  And a morning stroll through the market with the appearance of Penang durian at the fruit stalls, and tender asparagus I can’t resist buying.

penang botanic gardens

High in fiber, and rich in folacin – a vitamin necessary for blood cell formation and growth, and prevention of liver disease – asparagus are more than just a seasonal vegetable.  These green shoots are incredibly healthy, and found in cuisines around the world because of their versatility to match with a wide variety of spices & herbs.

spring fresh asparagus

As in a simple recipe of steamed asparagus with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and black pepper.  Or in Southeast Asian recipes like the spicy Malaysian sambal asparagus with pounded chili peppers and belacan.  Or in Thai Stir-Fried Asparagus with the delicate balance of lemongrass and coconut milk.

lemongrass spice herb

The citrus scent of lemongrass with the creamy taste of coconut milk, make this stir-fried asparagus dish distinctively Thai.  That’s the base to explore from.  Try tossing in other vegetables, like radishes, carrots, bean sprouts, or tomatoes; spices like fresh ginger or bird’s eye chili peppers; and for some substance, add in shrimp if you can find them fresh at your market.

A delectable, tropical way to savor the springtime harvest.

Thai Stir-Fried Asparagus with Lemongrass recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

buy lemon grass powder, kaffir lime leaf powder and thai galangal powder from season with spice shop

Thai Stir-Fried Asparagus with Lemongrass 
by Season with Spice

10 large asparagus - snapped into 2 inch length pieces
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 stalks lemongrass - outer leaves removed and ends trimmed off, then remaining stalk chopped finely
2 cloves garlic - peeled and chopped finely
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp water
1/4 red bell pepper - diced into small squares
1 Thai bird’s eye chili pepper - halved (optional)
2 tsp fish sauce (omit for a vegetarian version)
Salt to taste
Dashes of Season with Spice's finely ground white pepper
Red chili peppers (serrano chili) - deseeded and thinly sliced for garnish
A squeeze of lime juice, optional

1. In a frying pan or a wok, heat oil and sauté lemongrass and garlic until aromatic.
2. Add in the harder pieces of asparagus first (the lower parts of the stalk), and stir-fry for about one minute. Then add in the rest of the asparagus, and the coconut milk, water, bell pepper, fish sauce, and Thai bird’s eye chili pepper. Stir and toss to make sure the asparagus cooks evenly. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat.
3. Add salt and simmer for two minutes or until asparagus spears are tender. Test by using your spatula to cut through one of the spears. It should be easy to cut, but still crunchy.
4. Dish out, sprinkle with some ground black pepper, squeeze in lime juice and garnish with red chili peppers. Serve hot with steamed rice.

*Tip: Snapping Asparagus
Starting at the tip of the asparagus, bend the stem and snap off about a 2-inch length piece (a fresh asparagus should snap easily). Keep snapping off 2-inch pieces until you come to the resistance point where it is too fibrous to snap. Discard the fibrous ends of the asparagus (or you can peel the fibrous part and add it to a soup).


BiteMyCake said...

Beautiful photos. It's asparagus season, I love them

Victoria at Flavors of the Sun said...

It's so exciting to see the new spring asparagus--and this recipe looks like a perfect way to use them. Lovely photos as well.

Emily @LivingLongfellow said...

After reminiscing about Malaysia today, I stumbled back here to bring back some memories. What a wonderful place you live :) I've been trying to figure out a way to use my lemon grass. Thanks for this!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

I have never had asparagus with lemongrass flavor. It must be so delicious! I see so many asparagus recipes around and it's so fun to see so many great recipes (and I have an asparagus recipe by a guest blogger on my blog. ;-) )

Season with Spice said...

It's wonderful that we can enjoy asparagus in so many ways.

Season with Spice said...

Hi Emily - glad to hear that you had a memorable time in Malaysia. Many more lemon grass recipes coming up!

Season with Spice said...

Hi Nami, I was just over your site and saw the stir fried asparagus with shrimps using black bean paste by Ray. It is a fantastic recipe!

Myfudo said...

A wonderful combination...Love this unique dish!

Season with Spice said...

Thanks Anna.

Gemma_Mac111 said...

Awesome recipe. Thanks so much for sharing!
If you are interested in finding out about growing your own asparagus.

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