Known for its light, lemony flavor, this tall, tropical grass (Cymbopogon citratus
) is essential to Thai and Vietnamese cooking. It's also a blended ingredient in Indian curry powders
The citrus-like aroma of lemon grass comes from citral, an essential
oil also found in lemon
peel. The herb's thin, gray-green leaves and
-like base add unique, subtle flavor to soups
sauces, marinades, curries
and noodle dishes.
Lemon grass is also called citronella root
Lemon grass is available fresh or dried at Asian markets some
supermarkets that stock specialty items. Look for firm, blemish-free,
green stalks with
white roots. The top of the stalk should be fresh to slightly dry in
appearance, while the base should be somewhat heavy and moist.
Wrap tightly in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Fresh lemon grass can also be frozen for up to six months.
Before using, cut off the root and about half of the upper stalk. Then
remove the outer layers of the base to expose the tender inner heart. Slice, mince or crush as desired.
Fresh and dried lemon grass can be finely chopped or crushed and mixed
into your recipe. However, since it does not break up and disappear
when cooked, you may wish to add it in larger strips or pieces instead. These can
be easily removed from your dish and discarded before serving.
• Mince into small pieces and use as a seasoning for marinades
• Slice into small, thin discs and add to salads and stir-fries
• Cut the stalk into small pieces and simmer in soups and stews or use to flavor teas
• Crush and line the bottom of pans or foil food wrappings when roasting or grilling
meats and vegetables.
When fresh lemon grass is unavailable, substitute dried lemon grass or strips of lemon peel.
Try one of our favorite lemon grass recipes:
Green Chicken Curry
Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup – Tom Yam Goong
Basil and Five Spice Chicken with Cantaloupe Salad