Lemongrass has a heavenly lemon-esque aroma that includes a whiff of ginger and the heady scent of tropical flowers. Think of it as a wonderfully delicate perfume for your food! While it can be delicious with most anything, lemongrass shines best when used with chicken and seafood.
How to Buy Lemongrass
The flavorful part of lemongrass is the lower part of the stalks, and it is usually sold with the leaves and upper stalks removed.
Look for lemongrass that is firm and pale yellow-green with a bit of a bulb at the end. The top of the stalk should look relatively fresh; they tend to dry out quickly but they shouldn't be browned or sad looking.
How to Store Lemongrass
Store lemongrass loosely wrapped in the fridge for up to several weeks. Or, wrap it well and freeze it. I like to chop or mince it before freezing, so it's ready to use.
How to Cook With Lemongrass
Lemongrass is most often used in 1- to 2-inch pieces in soups, stews, and teas. Just add the trimmed pieces of lemongrass stalk and leave them in the soup or stew until it imparts as much flavor as you want. Be kind to your diners and remove the pieces before serving since they tend to be woody and don't make for the best eating.
Lemongrass can also be minced and added to stir-frys or rubs for grilled or roasted meats or seafood. Use only the bottom few inches for mincing and remove the tough, woody outer layer of the stalk, since that it the most tender part of the lemongrass stalk and will keep your dish from having woody-seeming bits in it.
You'll also need to truly mince it into teeny tiny pieces because even that more tender core can be quite fibrous.
Whichever way you use it, know that the longer you cook lemongrass the more intense its flavor becomes. For a flavor that is as light and delicate as its scent, add lemongrass towards the end of cooking.
Recipes Featuring Lemongrass
Lemongrass is usually used as part of a larger flavor profile, as in this Sambal Paste or this Sweet Potato Broccoli Curry, but it doesn't always need to take a backseat to garlic or ginger or chiles. This Asparagus Lemongrass Risotto highlights the unique flavor of lemongrass, and this Coconut Creamed Corn takes full advantage of the aromatic nature of lemongrass.