If you are a fan of Thai or Vietnamese cuisine you've no doubt come across lemongrass. As you can judge by the name, this fragrant grass gives off notes of lemon but has a surprising herbal flavour.
Lemongrass is widely used in coconut-based curries, but is great in sweet and savoury dishes, as well as beverages. Below we share some great ways of cooking with lemongrass.
Lemongrass: A Little Background
Aside from adding a wonderful flavour to food and drinks, lemongrass is a known diuretic. It promotes good digestion and is thought to be a pain reliever. Thus, it is used to treat colds and headaches, among other ailments.
Lemongrass is also widely used as an insect repellent.
How to Prep Lemongrass for Cooking
To extract the most flavour from lemongrass you’ll need to pound the bulbous end with the back of a knife. This will open up this fragrant grass and allow its flavour to infuse into your dishes.
Cooking with Lemongrass: Simple Syrup, Anyone?
Are you a fan of iced tea? Make a simple lemongrass syrup to use as a sweetener.
Put equal amounts of sugar and water in a pot. Add pounded lemon grass and simmer until a clear syrup is obtained. Allow to cool and store in a mason jar (put the lemongrass in the jar so it continues to impart its pleasant flavour).
Used in combination with soy sauce, cilantro, fish sauce and garlic, lemongrass adds loads of flavour to marinades.
Allow the meat to sit in the marinade for at least an hour, overnight if possible.
Here's a recipe for Thai grilled chicken with lemongrass to get you started.
Soups Flavoured with Lemongrass
Of course, lemongrass is a must in the famous Tom Yum soup enjoyed throughout Malaysia, Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia.
This particular recipe calls for the addition of king prawns and kaffir limes.
Lemongrass also flavours other favourites like Thai coconut soup and chicken laksa, a comforting chicken curry with Chinese, Indian and Malay influences.
Cooking Curries with Lemongrass
For some reason, lemongrass and seafood just go together perfectly. This recipe for coconut crab curry proves it.
With hints of palm sugar, kaffir lime and lemongrass it’ll soon become a family favourite.
You could also go the vegetarian route and prepare something like this eggplant and snow pea curry. It is infused with green chilies, lemongrass, garlic and shallots.