Would you believe, an edible grass? Lemongrass is a herb used very widely in Asian cuisine and is also known as
- citronella grass
- barbed wire grass
- serai in Malay and countless other names in the various countries it’s used in.
It’s flavour? Citrusy, sweet and spicy and used just as commonly in savoury and as in sweet recipes.
How to Use Lemongrass
As the flavour is concentrated in the thicker bulb end, we only use the bottom half of the lemongrass stalk – whole, pounded or in thin slices.
Cut off a small piece at the bottom and remove any dried out or brown layers. Using the back of a knife, pound hard on the bulb to lightly smash it. This releases the essential oils and flavour.
Thinly sliced and Pounded
As above, then slice thinly as in pictures.
If pounding, slice thinly first as the fibrous layers will break down more easily that way. You can just as easily process a whole lot in a chopper, with a little water, to get a paste. Store in a sterilized jar, cover with a layer of vegetable oil and it should keep easily for a couple of weeks in the fridge. I do the same thing with garlic, ginger and galangal.
I love adding a couple of bruised stalks to vodka and giving them to friends as Christmas gifts; it is also great in custards and panna cotta.
Essential oil of lemongrass is used as a natural pesticide, a preservative and is also widely utilised in the perfume industry.
Given its uplifting properties, it is highly popular with aromatherapists and is also used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine.