The smell and taste of lemongrass at Azuma Kara in Delhi
I don’t have a green thumb, but there is one plant on my balcony I have taken good care of — my potted lemongrass. The stalks are green and tall, and wave out to me cheerily when I am anywhere around it. I look at the plant a bit sorrowfully. ‘I am sorry, but one day you are going to get added to my soup,’ I tell it.
When it does, it will greatly enhance the flavour of the soup — just like the lemongrass that gave zest to the tom yam soup I had a few days ago. The soup had been tempered with Thai herbs, and the presence of lemongrass in it was unmistakable. I scooped out the small shrimps in the broth and with that, started quite a memorable Oriental meal delivered by a new outlet called Azuma Kara. Based in Shahpur Jat, it delivers food with the help of Swiggy and Zomato, and its own delivery service. It is open every day of the week, from 12 noon to 12 midnight (phone: 7827906772).
I opened the elegantly designed menu card on the net, and found that it had some of my favourite dishes. I can’t have enough of the flavours that kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and galangal add to Thai food. So even though the menu has Japanese and other kinds of cuisines, I stuck (more or less) to my favourite Southeast Asian region. I asked for chicken Thai herb dim sums and prawn kaffir lime dim sums (₹390 each), char siu bao pork (₹490), Thai green curry chicken (₹680), pad Thai noodles (₹280) and lemongrass tiramisu (₹380).
The tom yam prawn soup (₹340) was hearty, if a bit salty. It was pleasantly aromatic, and I had it with a crusty piece of bread. I moved on to the dim sums. The filling was robust — the chicken with Thai herbs had a nice flavour, as did the prawn with kaffir lime leaves. I then had a piece of the bao and enjoyed the pork belly filling on spicy mayo.
I am a green curry fan, and enjoyed it thoroughly. The chicken had soaked in the tastes and aromas of the herbs — especially the lemongrass — and I had it with some sticky rice and vegetable pad Thai. The icing was the lemongrass tiramisu. The herb gave the soft and cheesy dessert a delicious kick.
The menu at Azuma Kara is interesting, and I am not surprised, for the chef here was earlier at Blue Ginger, known for its Vietnamese cuisine, in Taj Palace. It has Vietnamese summer rolls on the menu, and the soup list includes cauliflower miso soup and Thai coconut soup (both ₹350). On the sushi list are rolls with mango and avocado, salmon and tuna (₹460-890). Among the interesting dishes are its one-meal bowls: spicy tuna poke bowl (₹690), tofu poke bowl (₹620), massaman pork curry with sticky rice and Asian greens (₹840) and Peruvian potatoes, wild mushroom and winter truffles (₹940).
In these troubled times, it was nice to get the old familiar fragrance of Thai herbs in my food. The lemongrass plant in the pot — still intact — seemed happy as well. It gave me a whiff of its heady scent when I stepped out to the balcony the next morning.
The writer is a seasoned food critic