I began to use it in soups and curries. Lemongrass‘ lemony, herbaceous aromas, albeit mild, enliven the flavors of a dish. The fibrous stem of lemongrass has a delicate lemony flavor. Although I first encountered lemongrass in Vietnamese and Thai cooking, it is also utilized in Southeast Asian and South Asian cuisines. Lemongrass is often cultivated in the ground, with most of the stalk hidden beneath the earth and tall, thin leaves protruding from the top. To know how to cook with Lemongrass, read further.
These lengthy leaves are frequently cut when lemongrass stalks reach our farmer’s markets or supermarket shops. Lemongrass stalks over a foot long with a few inches of sparse leaves at the top are all that’s left. Your lemongrass should now have a more delicate texture, resembling yellow-green flakes. It’s now ready to use in curries and soups, for example. It is important to note that the lemongrass must still be cooked or boiled for at least five minutes before it is tender enough to eat. Lemongrass can be used right away or frozen in a tight container and used later.
How To Use Lemongrass?
When you’re ready to cook with lemongrass, peel away any dry, papery, or damaged outer layers off the stalks, then trim away the bottom root end and the woody top two-thirds of each stalk with a sharp knife or cleaver until you’re left with 5 or 6 inches. The trimmings should be discarded (or composted!). The following stage is determined by how you intend to use the lemongrass.
Cooking With Lemongrass
I was surprised when the directions said to peel off “many” layers and used the “sensitive core” of the stalk when I first used lemongrass for a recipe. To get to the soft, pliable center of the lemongrass stalk, I assumed it meant peeling away four or five layers of the stalk. Because I was wasting so much of the stalk, it didn’t make sense. I understood that peeling all those layers wasn’t essential as I cooked with lemongrass more. In any case, it’s the section of the lemongrass that’s browning or drying out. It will also be easier to peel the lemongrass leaves. Then, cut the thin leaves from the top of the stalk by slicing them off.
Even though they maintain some flavor, I find them too inconvenient to deal with and discard them. Slice the stalk into 3-inch chunks if you’re making a soup or broth. Then, pound each segment using a kitchen mallet or meat tenderizer until the stalk splits open slightly. The oils in the stalks are released using this method. Because I use lemongrass in many soups and jook (rice porridge), this is my favored preparation technique. If you want to utilize lemongrass in a sauce or marinade, I recommend using a Microplane zester/grater to grate the lemongrass. It will be easier to blend the lemongrass with the other ingredients and consume it as a result.
Some Additional Factors
- Paste Of Lemongrass- If you can’t find any lemongrass stalks, you can use lemongrass paste, such as Gourmet Gardens’. The paste is usually found in the refrigerated herbs area in a tube. The taste of the paste is excellent; however, it is not vegan (it contains whey).
- Directions For Freezing- After a few weeks in the fridge, lemongrass will start to go wrong. Freeze the lemongrass to keep it fresh for longer. Lemongrass stalks should be trimmed, rinsed, and dried, and they should be cut into 3-inch chunks. Use within a few months by transferring them to a freezer bag. It’s much better if you can seal the bag with a vacuum sealer to avoid freezer burn.
Lemongrass stalks should always be trimmed at the base, and the complex outer layers peeled and discarded. Crush the lemongrass stalk with the back of a knife to release the taste before using it whole in stews, broths, or beverages. It can also be coarsely sliced and added to marinades, soups, and stir-fries. Lemongrass slices are pounded in a mortar to make a paste used in curries, marinades, and desserts. Finely mince the lemongrass rings and freeze overnight for seasoning. A sharp serrated knife, a chopping board, and a food processor or mortar and pestle are required to prepare lemongrass for cooking.
- 1. Remove the Tough Outer Leaves- Under the rough outer leaves, you’ll find the softer, fleshier part of the lemongrass (which you’ll want to utilize in your cooking). These layers should be peeled away with your fingertips and discarded. A pale yellow stem will emerge, softer and easier to slice.
- 2. Cut off the Bulb- Remove the lower bulb using a sharp serrated knife. You should be able to remove the entire bulb, plus a bit more if you cut around 2 inches off the end. Remove the bulb and throw it away.
- 3. Slice the Lemongrass- It should now be relatively simple to cut up the lemongrass. Make thin slices of up to two-thirds of the stalk starting from the lower end (where the bulb was).
Some Additional Factors
- 1. Reserve the Upper Stalks- When you’ve cut two-thirds of the way up the stalk, or it’s no longer yellow and meaty, stop slicing. The stalk will be primarily green and woody at the top, but it can still make soups and curries. This top end of the stalk should be saved for your recipe. Depending on how many stalks or tablespoons of prepared lemongrass the recipe calls for, repeat the process with the remaining stalks.
- 2. Make Use of the Upper Stalk- There isn’t much waste on lemongrass, and you may add even more flavor and fragrance to soups and curries by using the higher, conserved stem. With your serrated knife, make many minor slices along the length of the stalk. Then gently bend the lemongrass several times to “bruise” it, holding it at either end, and this will allow the smell and flavor to be released. Place the stalk in your soup or curry saucepan now.
- 3. Chop the Lemongrass- Because lemongrass is so complex and fibrous, it aids in processing the slices. In a food processor (or chopper), combine the chopped lemongrass and process on “high” until smooth. Alternatively, pound it with a pestle and mortar for a minute or two. Although you can use the lemongrass slices, the more giant slices will be difficult to consume, and your visitors will spit them out.
How to Choose Fresh Lemongrass?
Choose flavorful, firm, undamaged, moderately hefty lemongrass stalks that range in color from creamy, pale yellow to bright green if you’re lucky enough to acquire fresh lemongrass stalks. Avoid stalks that are severely bruised, discolored, flaky, light in weight, or have loose layers, as these are all symptoms of old, dried-up lemongrass that aren’t worth buying.
How to Keep Lemongrass Fresh?
Fresh lemongrass can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks, wrapped in plastic, or frozen (also wrapped in plastic) for up to 6 months.
You can multiply the fresh stalks you buy at the supermarket if you want your home-grown supply of lemongrass. Place a few in a jar with a few inches of water and place it in a sunny location. Change the water every day, and you should notice roots emerging from the bottoms of the stalks after a few weeks. When the lemongrass is at least a couple of inches long, transplant it to a well-drained pot or other container filled with moist potting soil, or plant it directly in your garden in a sunny, well-drained location.
Lemongrass flavor intensity varies greatly depending on the climate in which it was cultivated. Lemongrass is thought to have healing properties. Herbalists have long used lemongrass to cure several diseases, including cramps, colds, and influenza. It’s also utilized in aromatherapy to help people unwind. Steep or boil fresh or dried lemongrass to produce a herbal infusion or decoction. Fresh leaves can be chopped, or dry leaves can be broken up. One teaspoon of lemongrass leaves per cup of boiling water is a decent ratio in general.