I lo-lo-love lemongrass!!!!
Lemongrass is native to India and tropical Asia. It is widely used as a herb in Asian cuisine. It has a subtle citrus flavor and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. It is commonly used in teas, soups, and curries. It is also suitable for use with poultry, fish, beef, and seafood. It is often used as a tea in African countries such as Togo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Latin American countries such as Mexico. Lemongrass oil is used as a pesticide and a preservative. Research shows that lemongrass oil has antifungal properties. Despite its ability to repel insects, its oil is commonly used as a "lure" to attract honey bees. "Lemongrass works conveniently as well as the pheromone created by the honeybee's nasonov gland, also known as attractant pheromones. Because of this, lemongrass oil can be used as a lure when trapping swarms or attempting to draw the attention of hived bees."
Cooking with Lemongrass: To use fresh lemongrass in your cooking, always cut off the lower bulb and remove tough, outer leaves. The main stalk (the yellow section) is what is used in Thai cooking, although I always reserve the upper green "stem" and add this to my soups and curries for extra flavor.
From here, you have 2 options. The first is the easier of the two. Simply cut the yellow stalk into 2-3 inch lengths. Then bruise these sections by bending them several times. You can also create superficial cuts along these sections with your knife, which will help release the lemon flavor. Add these bruised stalks to your soup or curry. When serving, remove the lemongrass pieces, or ask your guests to set them aside as they eat.
The second option is to slice the lemongrass. In this case, we are preparing the lemongrass to be consumed, adding fiber, nutrients, and more flavor to the dish. You will need a very sharp knife, as the stalk is quite firm. Cut the yellow section of stalk into thin slices and place these in a food processor. Process well. Or, pound the slices with a pestle & mortar until softened and fragrant. Now add this prepared lemongrass to your Thai recipe.
About Eating Lemongrass: Note that lemongrass is extremely fibrous and a little stringy (more like threads, actually). For this reason, be sure to cook your Thai dish thoroughly. If you are making a soup, for example, boil the lemongrass for at least 5-10 minutes in the broth in order for it to soften adequately.
Growing Your Own Lemongrass: If you would like to try growing your own lemongrass, simply buy a few stalks from the store and place the bulb end in water. Allow it to soak until roots form (this may take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month). Once your lemongrass has developed roots ½ an inch to 1 inch long, plant it in your garden, or in a pot with lots of rich soil. Lemongrass likes sun and warm temperatures, so if you choose to keep it indoors as a houseplant, be sure to give it a south-facing window. Lemongrass makes a beautiful houseplant or ornamental garden plant, and also has the benefit of being useful in Thai cooking.
Lemongrass would be fantastic added to stock used for plain old chicken soup!
Here are a couple of recipes, both pork, that use lemongrass:
My mouth is watering just thinking about them!
Have a great day everyone!!!