When Life Gives You Lemongrass Cook With It

The luscious, botanical flavour of lemongrass accentuates everything it comes into contact with. It gives meats, sides, and salads a brightening punch, and it's probably the reason you can't stop savouring the zingy broth of tom kha gai. Even though lemongrass has a strong flavour, you shouldn't be intimidated by it. Learn everything you need to know about using lemongrass in cooking, including how to prepare it, and which recipes benefit from its flavour the most, by reading on. 

The herb known as lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), which has a lemony scent and resembles grass, is native to maritime Southeast Asia, which includes Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore. However, it is produced all over the world in tropical and subtropical climates. Lemongrass has a peculiar flavour that is compared to a blend of zesty lemon, cooling mint, and a hint of ginger's sharpness. 

Lemongrass stalks resemble light, slender scallions or green onions, and they are covered with long, grassy-looking leaves. Lemongrass should have vibrant green leaves that don't seem dried out. Lemongrass is in peak condition when it has a firm texture and a pleasant scent. 

Edible Parts 

Lemongrass can be cooked with almost all of its parts. Only the bottom third of the stem is edible due to the fibrous and stringy quality of the stem. While not edible, the higher stalks, which are greener and more papery in appearance, can be used to flavour broths and curries. 

Cooking With Lemongrass 

Thai and Vietnamese food, in particular, include a significant amount of lemongrass. In addition to giving roasted meats a lemony flavour, lemongrass enhances the flavour of soups, salads, and curries. Moreover, the outer leaves may be dried and made into a tea or may be diced fresh and used to a cocktail. 

When using lemongrass in a recipe, you must cut it up and pulse it to a fine powder. Keep a chopping board, a razor-sharp serrated knife, a mortar and pestle, and a food processor close at hand. 

First, use your fingers to remove the thick outer leaves to reveal the grass' pale, spongy stalk. Throw the leaves away. 

The lower bulb can be taken out using a knife. Remove the roots by taking about 2 inches from the bottom of the stem. 

Slice the lemongrass very thinly from the lower end, where you just removed the bulb, all the way up the stalk, approximately a third of the way. When you wish to flavour soups and curries, save the higher stalk for that occasion. 

Use a mortar and pestle or the pulse function on a food processor to pulverise the lower stalk that has been chopped into a fine paste. The stalks will be simpler to eat if they are cut into finer slices. 

Use right away or keep in the freezer or refrigerator. 

Lemongrass substitutes 

You can substitute some herbs or fruits for fresh lemongrass if you don't have any on hand. You can imitate the distinctive flavour of lemongrass by using lemon verbena, ginger and cilantro, makrut lime leaves, or lemon balm. In a pinch, you may also substitute lemon or lime juice and zest, but the flavour won't be as similar. Instead of using fresh lemongrass stalks, ground lemongrass powder can be substituted; for each stalk called for in the recipe, use 1 teaspoon of the powder.