How to use lemongrass: this guide both illustrates and explains it super clearly. Lemongrass is a delicious ingredient in so many recipes, and might seem daunting to use, but this method will change that.If you’ve never tasted anything with lemongrass in it, or taken in its alluring fragrance, I think you’re missing out.
What is Lemongrass?
- Lemongrass is a tall, perennial grass that’s native to tropical and sub-tropical climates of Asia, Australia and Africa.
- It’s tough, fibrous and only a small portion of it can actually be used. It’s therefore often daunting to use.
- Side note: While we’re exploring it for the purpose of cooking and working its wonderful flavor into our recipes, it’s notable that it is among the most popular essential oils. The oil is used primarily for its health benefits. (You can learn more about that here.)
What does lemongrass taste like?
- While it looks much like a scallion, the flavor is lemony.
- Lemongrass has more than the flavor of lemon though — it also has delicious, subtle notes of ginger, lime, and mint.
I’ve used this somewhat exotic ingredient many times in my life, and only learned the proper way to prepare it a couple of weeks ago. And lucky me, I learned this method from the delightful Katie Chin at a signing for her latest book, Everyday Thai Cooking, at Melissa’s Produce.
What can you make with lemongrass?
Here are a few of my favorite recipes:
- Thai Baked Mahi Mahi Recipe
- Gai Lan Recipe with Garlic and Coconut
- Easy Thai Yellow Curry Paste Recipe
With this awesome method below, it’s super easy and the results are perfect. Be daunted no more.
- fresh lemongrass, washed and dried
- You will only be using the bottom white portion of the lemongrass, so cut off all of the dark green. (My instinct would be to throw this top portion into a stock, but Katie said it really doesn't impart much flavor.)
- Use your fingers to gently split, and then pull away the top layer of the lemongrass. It should come off in one piece. Sometimes it’s necessary to take off a second layer — to get to the softest portion of the lemongrass.
- Now use a meat mallet to firmly, but gently, smash the remaining lemongrass. (If you don’t have a meat mallet, you can use the bottom of a small sauté pan.)
- Use a Chef’s knife to finely chop smashed lemongrass. It’s brilliant, and ready for a stir-fry, marinade, soup, or wherever you think it belongs.
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