Lemongrass is a culinary herb derived from a perennial grass with a woody stalk and fragrant leaves central to South Asian cooking.
What does lemongrass taste like?
The flavor of lemongrass is herbaceous and intense in lemon and lime with a sweet pungent floral citrus aroma. The essence is mild so it won’t easily overpower other flavors in a dish.
Where does lemongrass come from?
Native to South Asia and Australia, the name lemongrass or cymbopogon is derived from the Greek for ‘boat beard’.
There are many varieties of lemongrass seasoning, the most common three are cymbopogon citratus, cymbopogon flexuosus, and cymbopogon nardus.
Citratus is mostly used in cooking whereas flexuosus and nardus are processed for oil.
Lemongrass can be eaten thinly sliced raw, ground within a paste or bruised whole, and infused then removed after cooking.
The fresh herb adds fragrance to many dishes and creates a mildly intense and tangy taste minus the bitterness of using a lemon. Often, lemongrass oil is used to add citrus without the extra acidity.
The herb is central to Thai, Indonesian, Sri Lankan and Vietnamese cooking popularly used in curries, stews, soups, desserts, pastes, salads, tea and stir-fries.
- Lemon zest: add at the end of cooking to replicate the lemon citrus flavor.
- Lemon balm: use as a substitute in salads and when requiring raw lemongrass.
Lemongrass Compliments and Pairings
The pure flavor of lemongrass suits pairings with sweet, savory, creamy and spicy ingredients including pork, fish, coconut, citrus, shellfish, coriander, chili, garlic, cucumber, beef, lamb, poultry, lime, lemon, ginger, melon, noodles, pineapple, and fruit.
Lemongrass Expiration and Storage
- Fresh: wrap the ends of the lemongrass in clingfilm and store in the refrigerator for up to two months.
- Ground: store in an airtight container in a dry environment for two to three years.
Fun Facts About Lemongrass
- India is the largest producer of lemongrass.
- Lemongrass can be processed to create Cochin oil or lemongrass oil which has a strong citrus aroma.
Popular Lemongrass Recipes
- Yam kung ten
- Lemongrass iced tea
- Thai fish cakes
- Cardamom and lemongrass rice pudding
- Tom yum soup
- Chicken satay
- Ginger and lemongrass sago pudding
- Vietnamese lemongrass chicken