This easy-to-understand tutorial explains and shows you how to prepare fresh lemongrass stalk and how to use it in Asian cooking.Lemongrass is an important part of Indonesian cooking and other Southeast Asian countries.I’ve seen more and more lemongrass stalks carried by Western grocery stores.Not the entire stalk can be eaten, well, technically you can, but the skinny part of the upper third is just fibrous and tough.The part that carries that amazing aroma is the lower third of the stalks where it is usually the “fattest” and also sort of whitish in color.Use a heavy object to bruise the stalk so it releases the aroma during cooking.It’s important that you do that so the aroma or some people say the oil releases and fragrant your dish.Finely ground lemongrass by using food processor is a common way to use them in cooking too. .
How to Prepare Lemongrass to Use for Cooking
A versatile herb that can be used in all kinds of recipes, from marinades to curries and cocktails to stir-fries, lemongrass has a deep citrusy aroma that can typically be found in Thai cooking and other Asian cuisines.But while it can impart a bright flavor to any meal, this stalky plant can be more than a little intimidating to use if you don't know how to break it down.In this article, we will go over where to buy lemongrass, how to select it, and the steps needed to take this herb from a daunting stalk to a delightful addition in your next meal.If you can't find lemongrass with the fresh produce, check the freezer section.To prepare lemongrass for cooking, you need a sharp serrated knife, a cutting board, and a food processor or mortar and pestle.The softer, fleshier part of the lemongrass (which is what you want to use in your cooking) is located under the tough outer leaves.Starting from the lower end (where the bulb was), make thin slices of up to two-thirds of the stalk.The upper end the stalk will be mostly green and woody but is still useful in cooking soups and curries.You can use the upper, reserved stalk to add even more flavor and fragrance to soups and curries.Simply make several superficial cuts along the length of the stalk with your serrated knife.Place the sliced lemongrass in a food processor (or chopper) and process well on "high.".Note that the lemongrass still needs to be cooked or boiled for at least five minutes before it is soft enough to be edible.If you can't find lemongrass or are in a bind, you can substitute lemon or lime juice in its place. .
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How to Use Lemongrass
Preparing lemongrass was one of the first chores Nite Yun, chef and owner of Oakland’s critically acclaimed Nyum Bai, performed in her mother’s kitchen.As its name suggests, lemongrass is a grass with botanical origins that stretch across South and Southeast Asia, from India and Sri Lanka to Indonesia and the Philippines.“I always prefer fresh lemongrass as the natural oils bring so much flavor and complexity to dishes,” says Gil Payumo, chef at Filipino fusion restaurant Señor Sisig in San Francisco.In South and Southeast Asian cooking, lemongrass commonly conspires with ingredients like garlic, galangal (and/or ginger), cilantro, Thai basil, shallots, lime leaves, and coconut milk to create bold, complex flavors. .
Lemongrass Is a Prized Herb in Asian Cuisine
For DeeDee Niyomkul, owner of Chai Yo Modern Thai in Atlanta, lemongrass is an ingredient she knows all too well."Lemongrass is not too overpowering, which leaves an abundance of opportunity to layer in other exotic flavors for complexity," DeeDee says.It's prominently used to flavor foods in Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and other countries in the region.People also seek lemongrass for its health benefits around sleep, inflammation, antioxidant properties and stress.You can find the thin, pale green stalks at most grocery stores or Asian markets in the produce or freezer sections — they usually come in bunches.It's best used to make broths and seasoning powders for dishes like larb, a northern Thai-style salad with ground protein."It adds depth and texture to the dish by offering a roasted aroma and a little crunch," DeeDee says."It needs to be chopped finely and ground with a mortar and pestle with the other ingredients to make the paste," DeeDee says.But perhaps the best way to taste lemongrass is in a hot bowl of tom yum kung, which is considered one of the most well-known dishes in Thai cuisine."Infinitely idiosyncratic in aroma and flavor, this spicy shrimp soup is the proud gatekeeper to any Thai restaurant menu.". .
This citrusy plant plays a starring role in many Southeast-Asian cuisines, adding its unique flavor to everything from curries to cold drinks.In addition to its uses in the kitchen, it’s valued medicinally as a remedy for a wide range of ailments, from stomach troubles and fever to depression.Much of lemongrass’s flavor is concentrated in its lower, cane-like stalks, which is why most markets sell them already trimmed of their leafy tops, leaving just a few short, spiky blades still attached.To infuse teas, broths, soups, and braising liquids, trim off the spiky tops and the bases, crush the stalks with the side of a knife to release their aromatic oils, and then cut them into 1- or 2-inch pieces.To use lemongrass in marinades, stir-fries, salads, spice rubs, and curry pastes, trim the top and base of the stalks—you want to use only the bottom 4 inches or so. .
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