Your Best Ideas for Lemongrass

April 30, 2012

Photo by Joseph De Leo; styled by Mariya Yufest

Native to Asia, this tender perennial herb has been used by many cultures for centuries to treat health ailments, and most likely began its culinary life as a simple tea. Lemongrass’ oily properties make its flavor more intense, both complementing delicate ingredients and standing up to rich, strong proteins like salmon and beef. Its grassy, citrusy stalks are well known in Asian cooking, especially Thai and Indonesian cuisines, but the shoot is beginning to step in for citrus in many Western dishes, too.

The herb’s pungent flavor pairs well with ginger, chiles, basil, mint, cilantro, and coconut milk, but it plays well with other ingredients, too. Adding lemongrass to cream, egg, and wine sauces will spike the condiment with a refreshing citrus profile and won’t curdle the sauce the way lemon juice will. Grate it into salads and dressings; add it to soups and stir-fries; stuff slices into whole fish or chicken before grilling; or use lemongrass stalks as the ridged base of a steaming set-up to add the green, floral perfume to more delicate dishes. 

How do you cook with these fragrant stalks? Share your favorite ways to enjoy lemongrass in the comments section below. Remember, if you choose to upload a recipe (and we hope you will), please mention it in your comment.

We'll assemble and share some of our favorite ideas next week.

Thai-Inspired Asparagus Salad with Fried Meyer Lemon Asian Lemongrass Kebabs on Fresh Sugarcane Skewers
Photos by Sarah Shatz (left) and Joseph De Leo


Shiitake-Lemongrass Miso Soup
Thai One On

Pan-Roasted Wild Salmon with Lemongrass and Basil
Asian Lemongrass Kebabs on Fresh Sugarcane Skewers
(pictured above, right)
Thai-Inspired Asparagus Salad with Fried Meye Lemon [FOOD52] (pictured above, left)

For more spring produce inspiration, check out our previous topic, Your Best Ideas for Morels, and the selection of your best tips and recipes, How to Use Morels.

6 Comments Add a Comment
  • Missing_avatar

    micheleinmaryland says: When I think of lemongrass I think of Thai cooking, which to me is all about the balance among sweet, salty, sour and bitter tastes. I've always thought that sweet corn would lend itself well to this cuisine, and I've tried several different combinations. My favorite is what I would call a Thai Creamed Corn -- I sauté shallots, garlic and 3-inch stalks of crushed lemongrass in a pan of coconut oil until the shallots are translucent and slightly golden. I then add in kernels of corn, coconut cream, lime and a splash of soy sauce, simmering until the corn is heated through and the cream is thickened. At the very end I throw in some julienned basil and cayenne pepper to taste. The sweet corn is nicely balanced by the sour lemongrass, salty soy sauce and pungent basil. Tastes great all by itself or as a side over jasmine rice with grilled meats.

    about 1 year ago Reply to this »
  • Molly1bw

    molly's kitchen says: This sounds perfect! Would you mind uploading your recipe?

    about 1 year ago
  • Missing_avatar

    micheleinmaryland says: Hi, Molly... just uploaded the recipe.

    about 1 year ago
  • Molly1bw

    molly's kitchen says: Yum! Thanks Michele!

    about 1 year ago
  • Sara_lorikeets

    hardlikearmour says: I love lemongrass - it's got a lovely floral lemon flavor. It's great in desserts like this rice pudding: or this vegetarian panna cotta: Thanks to sdebrango for the nod to my syrup which can be found here:

    about 1 year ago Reply to this »
  • Oldies_joemare_bd

    sdebrango says: I make a food52 recipe from hardlikearmour for a lemongrass/lime infused syrup. Recently for Bake Together with Abby Dodge I made a lemongrass infused angel food cake that was delicious. Lemongrass is so versatile equally good in savory as well as sweet recipes.

    about 1 year ago Reply to this »

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