Lemongrass is a stalky grass-like herb used predominately in Thai, Laotian and Vietnamese cuisines.
Table of Contents
How To Use It
Lemongrass is a herb that has a strong lemony and refreshing citrus scent and is used for marinating meat, flavoring broths, or steeping in teas. Lemongrass has no acidity to it, and it doesn't taste like a lemon.
It is a very fibrous and woody herb and if you are using them in a marinade, you want to finely chop it as fine as possible.
In a broth, I like to keep them whole and bruise the thick bottom stalk with a blunt object to release some of the oils. Keeping them whole allows you to remove and discard them from the broth easily when it is done.
Regardless of what method you use, you only use the bottom white parts of the stalk. This is the part that contains the oils and the most flavor. Cut off the top 2-3 inches of the dried tips and discard them. If the outer leaves are dried, those are usually peeled off and discarded as well. You also want to smash it or bruise it to release the oils before you use it as well.
Where Can I Find It?
When you are shopping for fresh lemongrass, look for green tips with a milky white bottom stalk that is firm. The bottom of the stalk should not look dried out, that being said, it's normal for the green tops to be slightly dried out.
They are about 1 foot long. If you cannot find fresh lemongrass, you can also buy frozen lemongrass as well.
Frozen lemongrass is usually pre-chopped and packaged in plastic containers in the freezer aisle. You can also find lemongrass powder, but I don't recommend using that. The flavor is completely different and almost artificial.
Kaffir lime leaves are a very good substitute for lemongrass and the closest thing to its flavor but they are a bit harder to find than lemongrass but dried kaffir lime leaves can be found online on Amazon.
Another alternative substitute for lemongrass is lemon zest. You only want to use the skin and not the white pith (which is bitter). It is not as robust and floral in flavor but it still works if lemongrass is hard to find.
How To Store Lemongrass
You can store fresh lemongrass in the fridge temporarily for a week or two before it dries out.
To keep it for longer than a week, cut 2-3 inches off the top (the dried tips) and discard them, and keep the white stalk at the bottom. Put it in an air-tight freezer bag and store it in the freezer.
If you bought frozen pre-ground lemongrass, store it in the freezer.
Recipes That Use Lemongrass
- Thai Lemongrass Larb Meatballs
- Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chops (Thit Heo Nuong Xa)
- Chicken Khao Soi Recipe (Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup)
- Authentic Thai Tom Yum Soup (Classic Tom Yum Goong)
- Bun Bo Hue (Spicy Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)
- Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew)
- Crispy Chicken Tacos
- Grilled Thai Coconut Chicken Skewers
- Roasted Turkey Legs with Herb Glaze
- Easy Tom Kha Gai Soup (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)
- Grilled Thai Curry Chicken Wings
- Chicken Satay Recipe with Peanut Sauce
- Crispy Garlic Tofu Buddha Bowl
- Thai Peanut Sauce (Made From Scratch)
- Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken