Prepping Lemongrass: Lemongrass doesn’t give up its flavor easily. You have to be brutal with it. Trim off the root, cut off the top two-thirds, and pull off the tough two outer layers. Then smash--and I mean smash--the core with the heel of a chef's knife, breaking down as many of the fibers as possible. Once you've done that, you can chop the lemongrass. Don't throw the trimmings away. Keep them in the freezer and use them for stock--especially fish or shrimp stock--or tea. Look for fresh curry leaves--which add a warm, slightly bitter, slightly citrusy flavor--in specialty and Indian markets. They freeze beautifully. You can substitute the zest of 1/2 lime and 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh mint in this recipe. Sambal oelek, a Southeast Asian chile paste, is available in the Asian section of many markets.