Lemongrass is also known as sereh, citronella grass or takrai. It smells fresh like lemon if you crush the hard stalk or cut it smaller. However, it does not have the sour taste of lemon. Read more about how to use the aromatic lemongrass in your dishes.
What do you use lemongrass for
In Thai curry pastes or in Vietnamese tamarind soup with pineapple, lemongrass gives the dish a fresh scent and taste.
It is often combined with coconut milk in desserts. Such as this chia seed pudding with coconut milk.
Lemongrass is also suitable for a marinade. For example for tofu and shrimp.
“To make the fresh and aromatic of the lemongrass stand out better, lemongrass is often combined with a little acid taste of, for example, lime, lemon or tamarind.”
How to work with lemongrass for your dishes
- Bruise: with the pestle (of your mortar) or the handle of a large knife (only for the advanced!) You hit the entire stem a few times. You cook the lemongrass in a hot liquid (soup, tea, coconut milk, etc.). Lemongrass is removed after cooking.
- Cutting: cut the stem diagonally and let it draw in hot liquid. You can leave the slices in the soup or tea for decoration.
- Chop small: remove the outer hard layer (sometimes the stem is so thin that there is no hard exterior), the bottom hard piece (you throw that away) and a large piece of the top so that about 10 cm from the underside is left. First cut this softest part of the lemongrass into a thin ring with a sharp knife and then chop everything as small as possible. Use in stir-fry dishes or marinades. The rest of the lemongrass, the hard parts, is stored for use in liquid dishes.
- Mash fine into a puree: first chop the lemongrass as described above. Then pound in a mortar for a (curry) paste puree.
How to store lemongrass
Lemongrass can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks in the packaging or wrapped in a tea towel. Or three months in the freezer.
Tip for freezing small chopped lemongrass:
Cut the cores of 2 or more packs of lemongrass into thin rings. And finely chop them in a small food processor. Because a small quantity does not run in the food processor, I make a supply. If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop everything finely with a large knife.
Place a layer of chopped lemongrass in a freezer. Put a sheet of baking paper on it and put a layer of lemongrass on it. I always make a layer of lemongrass roughly correspond with two stems of lemongrass. In these small amounts the frozen lemongrass is thawed so quickly that you can immediately add it to your dish or crush it for a fresh curry paste. Ideal, right?
And: easy to grow it yourself
When put in water, the stems of lemongrass will grow roots. Plant them in a pot with garden soil when the roots are about 3 cm. It grows easily and before you know you are cooking with your own home-grown lemongrass.