Have Homegrown Lemongrass? Here’s How You Can Use It
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Lemongrass is a powerful herb with a wide array of health benefits, from improving digestion and boosting the immune system to promoting relaxation and aiding in weight loss. Its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties make it a valuable addition to your diet and wellness routine. Whether used in cooking, as tea, or in aromatherapy, lemongrass can enhance your overall health and well-being.

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The lemongrass plant is easy to grow at home and hardly requires any maintenance. Extract lemongrass oil by infusing chopped lemongrass in carrier oils like olive oil or coconut oil. This infused oil can be used in aromatherapy or as a massage oil for its soothing properties. Crushing lemongrass stalks and rubbing them on skin to repel mosquitoes and insects is another way that lemongrass is used. Alternatively, boil lemongrass in water and use the cooled liquid as a natural insect repellent spray.

As far as the culinary uses of lemongrass go, they can be infused in broths.Whole or sliced lemongrass stalks can be added to soups. It pairs particularly well with coconut milk-based soups like Thai Tom Yum soup. Lemongrass stalks can also be finely chopped and added to curries and stir-fries for a subtle citrus flavour. It enhances the overall aroma and ingredients like chicken, seafood, and vegetables. Crushed lemongrass can be used in marinades for meats and seafood to impart a tangy and aromatic flavour. It also works well in homemade sauces for noodles or grilled dishes.

Steep chopped lemongrass stalks in hot water to make a refreshing herbal tea. You can also combine it with other herbs like mint or ginger for added flavour. It can also be infused into custards or creams for desserts.

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How To Prep The Lemongrass For Cooking

To use lemongrass in cooking, remove the tough outer layers and use the bottom 4-6 inches of the stalk. 

Bruise the stalk with the back of a knife or chop finely before adding to dishes to release its flavours.

Store fresh lemongrass in the refrigerator wrapped in a damp paper towel or in a sealed plastic bag. It can also be frozen for longer storage.

Don't hesitate to experiment with lemongrass in various dishes to discover new flavours and combinations. Its versatility makes it suitable for both savoury and sweet recipes. Here are some interesting dishes that can be made using lemongrass.

Lemongrass Chicken

This is a flavourful and aromatic dish where chicken is marinated with lemongrass and other spices, then grilled or pan-fried. Marinate the chicken with chopped lemongrass, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, and lime juice for at least an hour. Grill or pan-fry the chicken until fully cooked. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with rice or salad.

Tom Yum Soup

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It is easy to make this classic Thai hot and sour soup with lemongrass, shrimp, and mushrooms. Boil water or chicken stock and add lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and chilies. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add mushrooms, tomatoes, and shrimp, and cook until shrimp is done. Season with fish sauce and lime juice. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot.

Lemongrass Tofu Stir-Fry

Lemongrass adds great flavour to this simple Asian stir-fry with tofu and vegetables. Sauté chopped lemongrass and garlic in a pan. Add tofu and stir-fry until golden brown. Add vegetables and continue to stir-fry until tender. Season with soy sauce and oyster sauce.Garnish with fresh basil or cilantro and serve with rice.

Lemongrass and Coconut Milk Curry

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This is a creamy and aromatic curry made with lemongrass, coconut milk, and your choice of Sauté chopped lemongrass, garlic, and ginger in a pot. Add curry paste and stir until fragrant. Add protein or vegetables and cook until partially done. Pour in coconut milk and simmer until everything is cooked through. Season with fish sauce or soy sauce. Garnish with fresh basil or cilantro and serve with rice or noodles.

Lemongrass Iced Tea

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The lemongrass tea is a refreshing iced tea infused with lemongrass, perfect for a hot day. Boil water and add lemongrass pieces. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove lemongrass and add black tea bags. Steep according to your preference. Sweeten with honey or sugar if desired. Let the tea cool and then refrigerate. Serve over ice with lemon slices and fresh mint leaves.

Lemongrass Rice

Try this fragrant rice cooked with lemongrass which makes for a perfect side dish. Rinse the rice and place it in a pot. Add bruised lemongrass stalks, coconut milk, water or chicken stock, and salt. Cook the rice according to package instructions. Remove lemongrass pieces before serving. Fluff the rice and serve as a side dish with your main course.

Lemongrass Rasam

Make this tangy and spicy South Indian soup with a twist of lemongrass, perfect for a light meal or as a starter. Boil water with tamarind pulp, chopped tomatoes, and lemongrass pieces until the tomatoes are soft. Add cooked toor dal and crushed black pepper. Simmer for a few minutes. In a separate pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, and crushed garlic. Fry until fragrant. Add the tempering to the rasam and simmer for a few more minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot.