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.Releasing the fragrant, lightly floral oils from its woody stalk and bulb requires everything from peeling and chopping to smashing and pounding.To make this sauce, hot oil is poured over finely chopped lemongrass, ginger, and scallions.Dried lemongrass, sold as whole sections of the stalk, sliced pieces, or powder, can be found in the spice or herb section at Asian groceries and many larger markets as well as online. .


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. .

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. .


The stalks are available freeze-dried, too.Although lemongrass is central to Asian cuisine, especially Thai, it works well in Western dishes, too.Then chop finely or pound to a pulp in a pestle and mortar.Stored wrapped, in the fridge, fresh lemongrass will keep for a couple of weeks.Fresh lemongrass stalks should feel firm and heavy, with no bruising. .

How to Harvest Lemongrass for Cooking and Herbal Tea

If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.When I give my raised bed talks, I usually tell the audience that I like to plant lemongrass in place of a spike or dracaena, in my ornamental pots because it provides that lovely dramatic height.I love drying lemongrass for herbal tea, and come fall, when I fire up the crockpot, I toss it into hearty curries.This incredibly fragrant culinary herb is used in Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, and Malaysian cooking.There are health studies that show lemongrass can reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, and relieve anxiety, among other benefits.It doesn’t mind slightly moist soil, but you don’t want to overwater, which can cause the plant to rot.Wearing gardening gloves, I use my herb scissors to snip the leaves from the base of the outside of the clump to dry for tea.If you’re not saving the whole plant, you can pull it out of the pot in the fall, dust off all the soil, and separate each culm to store for the winter.Wrap them tightly in plastic to freeze, or put into freezer bags, and simply pull out a stalk for cooking as you need it.I find lemongrass stalks to be quite woody and fibrous (I found this out the hard way after biting into a huge piece once in a bowl of coconut soup), so I don’t generally mince it in my dishes.I use pieces of the stalks in chicken curry and Thai coconut soup, but I’ll fish them out before serving.However, do make sure if you want to eventually save all of it (leaves and stalks) for freezing or drying, that you get to it before your region’s first hard frost.I’ll move my pots to the warmth of the garage for a night if I haven’t had a chance to save all the lemongrass beforehand.Put your wee bit of lemongrass in a sunny window and change the water daily (or as often as possible).Lemongrass is a tropical plant, so you’ll want to make sure you’re well past your region’s frost-free date before bringing it back outside in the spring. .

Lemon Grass: Kitchen Basics

To make the flavor and fragrance more potent, bruise or pound the stems with a pestle before steaming.For a healthful tisane or herbal tea, bruise the top of two lemon grass stalks, combine with a quart of water, bring to a simmer, remove from heat and cover for 15 minutes before straining and reheating or chilling and serving.This part can be sliced or pounded after the tough outer leaves or layers are removed.Trim away the leaves and keep the bottom 6 to 12 or so inches.Use only the tender part of the lower bulb portion of lemon grass.Peel the tough leaves or layers away to get to the tender part of the inner core.The outer layer and upper portion of the stems are stringy and not edible, but can be used to flavor stocks, sauces, soups, stews, fish, poultry and herbal tea; discard after use.• For a lemon grass seasoning paste for marinating fish, chicken or pork: cut a lemon grass bulb and stem into 1-inch pieces and combine with a piece of fresh ginger peeled and cut up, 3 medium garlic cloves sliced, 2 medium shallots sliced, 1 or 2 medium chili peppers seeded and diced (choose pepper varieties according to your tolerance and taste), 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro stems, and salt to taste, combine these and chop fine in a processor or blender, add 2 tablespoons of corn oil and purée.A stalk of freshly cut lemon grass will root in water and grow on in a sunny garden location with regular water. .

How to Use Fresh Lemongrass

The good news is, it’s pretty easy to find these days, and while the tough stalk may seem intimidating, it’s not difficult to prepare fresh lemongrass.You may be able to find dried lemongrass too, which is okay to use in certain applications (mainly infusing broths and sauces, and grinding into highly seasoned curry pastes with lots of other flavorful ingredients, as well as steeping for tea), but it’s generally not as bright or complex as fresh, and doesn’t work well in stir-fries, salads, or any recipes without a lot of liquid to re-hydrate and extract the flavor from it.How to Choose Fresh Lemongrass.Change the water every day, and within a few weeks, you should see roots sprouting from the bottoms of the stalks.You can use the leaves to make tea.How to Use Fresh Lemongrass.When you’re ready to cook with your lemongrass, peel away and discard any dry, papery, or bruised outer layers from the stalks, then use a sharp knife or cleaver to trim away the bottom root end, and cut off the woody top two-thirds of each stalk as well so you’re left with 5 or 6 inches.Try adding them to chicken noodle soup, vegetable stock, or rice as it’s cooking, or boil the pieces with sugar and water to make lemongrass syrup to use in drinks and desserts.Slice the stalk into thin rounds; if you have a sharp knife but it’s still meeting a lot of resistance, that portion of the stalk is probably too tough to use (except in infusions).Get the Laksa Noodle Soup recipe.Get our Grilled Lemongrass Pork Kebabs recipe.What stays the same is the lemongrass-pistachio pesto that adds brightness and zest, and is fantastic on pretty much anything, from grilled chicken to baked tofu.Get our Eggplant Curry with Lemongrass and Coconut Milk recipe.Here, the tough parts of lemongrass stalks are boiled to make a simple, refreshing tea, perfect served chilled in the summer.Get the Fresh Lemongrass Tea recipe. .

Fresh Lemongrass Tea Recipe Plus its Important Benefits

This fresh lemongrass tea recipe will be your favorite thing to brew.It is one of the many plants we use in bush tea (a brewed concoction of many beneficial herbs).When you break the leaves though, you’ll get that strong, lemony smell almost immediately.So you can never over-harvest the leaves to make this simple lemongrass tea recipe.The plant is also the perfect addition to your kitchen garden – it repels bugs, mosquitoes, and even snakes.You can buy a large bunch, wash them with warm water and pop them in the freezer.The frozen stalks are fine for making this simple lemongrass tea recipe.I’m always asked what part of the lemongrass plant to use to make tea.Many use the stalks alone, but the leaves hold more flavor so use the whole grass minus the roots.After washing everything with warm water, I fold the stalk and use the leaves to tie a knot.After a couple minutes of boiling, you’ll get that amazing lemony smell.I actually found a couple studies that looked into the benefits of lemongrass tea.It found participants who had the tea daily for a month had very good red blood cell counts and hemoglobin levels.With the boost in hemoglobin levels, the researchers believe the tea can help with both treating and preventing anemia!And the drop in white blood cells may prove the tea can boost your immunity and help your body fight off infections.Speaking of fight off the flu and infections, another 2015 study tested the tea’s antibacterial and anti-fungal benefits.Serve hot for a soothing drink or cold for a refreshing summer cool down.honey optional Instructions Wash the lemongrass and peel its outermost skin.Fold the grass and add it to a small pot of boiling water.Add your favorite sweetener (optional) and serve hot or chilled.This tea has a great flavor profile with notes of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and allspice. .


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