This Is How You Get The Best Flavor Out Of Lemongrass
Learn how to prepare this aromatic and citrusy grass!
Lemongrass has an intensely aromatic and delicious flavor that is widely available around the Philippines. Locally known as tanglad, the lemongrass is a tall, prolific grass that grows in bunches from a bulb. It's tough and stringy but its oil is used in many medicinal as well as aromatic purposes. This tall grass that rivals the equally tall talahib smells amazingly like lemons, hence the name!
However, if you have never used lemongrass before, you may be unsure about and unaware of how to use this aromatic herb.
This useful but step-by-step guide should help you determine how you want to use this native grass to the best of its abilities!
1 Cut the stalk to size.
You don't really need the whole stalk but for ease of use, cut the stalk as needed to the length that you either need or want to use. The entire stalk is not edible as the fibrous outer stems are tough. The bulb is the most edible part but this is also where the most flavor is.
2 Remove the tough outer leaves.
Make eating your dish easier by removing the tough fibrous leaves. While these leaves are still aromatic and you can leave it on if you're using it whole, the outer leaves are best removed to reveal the more tender, still aromatic, but less fibrous bulb and more tender leaves on the inside.
3 Pound it or...
Once you have cut your lemongrass to size and trimmed the leaves, you have two options about how to proceed with your recipe. Some recipes will instruct you to pound the bulb to release its oils. This is best done with the pestle or pandikdik that comes with your mortar or almires. You can use any heavy object in your kitchen that won't easily break. You can even use a wooden or metal meat mallet like this one to get the job done.
4 Dice it up.
Instead of pounding it, you can also slice and finely chop or dice the lemongrass, too. This is the most aromatic way of infusing your dish with the citrus, lemon-like flavor of the grass! Since the bulb is edible, chopping it finely makes it easy to eat, too, once you're done with your dish.
5 Add it to your dish.
After you've pounded or chopped it up, it's time to use it! You can saute it to expose it to the heat, thus allowing even more of its oils and aromas to emerge from its fibers. A quick saute or simmer should be enough to do that. Long, simmering times can mute its flavors but helps it taste more subtle in flavor and even meld with the other ingredients for a tasty sip every time.
Now that you know how to use this lemony herb, use it for any of these recipes made more aromatic and delicious with lemongrass: