What Does Lemongrass Taste Like ? 4 Easy Cooking Methods to Use It
If you eat a lot of Asian food, especially Thai, you’ve probably noticed that tangy and lemony flavor in your soup or stir-fry meal more than once.
When you looked at the ingredients, you found that there was not a single slice of lemon. Chances are, you’ve just experienced the wonderful flavor of lemongrass.
While there is lemon in Western cuisine, there’s lemongrass in the East. But what does lemongrass taste like ?
What is Lemongrass ?
Lemongrass is a prized Asian herb used to flavor a variety of dishes. It is most popular in Thai cuisine. Lemongrass is a grass belonging to the tropical grass family.
It is cultivated mainly in Asia, but its use has now become very popular all around the world. You can find dried and fresh lemongrass stalks available in many supermarkets.
Lemongrass can look like scallions at first look. It sports long slender leaves and rounded stalks. However, lemongrass stalks are green and brown and have multiple layers.
The stalk, in particular, is the most valuable part of the herb because it contains the aromatic oils and flavors that give dishes a distinct lemony taste and smell.
Lemongrass and Its Flavors
If you’re wondering if lemongrass tastes like lemon, the short answer is yes. However, there’s a longer answer. Lemongrass tastes like lemon with a mild and delicate tang, along with a hint of ginger and mint.
Some people believe that lemongrass can substitute lemon in particular dishes because of its lemony flavors. However, it would be difficult for lemon to replace lemongrass because it’s an herb with very complex and sophisticated flavor.
Suffice to say: lemongrass does taste like lemon, but it has more to it than that. And that’s what makes this little herb even more unique.
How Do You Cook with Lemongrass ?
The stalks of the lemongrass are the most important part of the herb. But unlike scallions, those stalks are hard to chew on. You either need to discard the stems before serving the food or soften it in some way so it can be eaten quickly.
Lemongrass can be prepared in a variety of ways, depending on the dish you have in mind.
1. To Flavor Broth and Remove Fishy Smell
You can use the whole stalk of lemongrass, including the leaves to flavor your favorite. Just tie the lemongrass into a knot and put it to the broth.
You may also place a knotted lemongrass stalk over steaming fish to remove the “fishy” odor. You must remember to remove the herbs before using the broth or serving the dish.
2. Use in Soups and Stews
Chop fresh stalks into one-inch pieces and at an angle. Bruise them to release the aromatic oils. Add these to your favorite soups and stews and let cook for a few minutes to infuse the flavors fully.
You may take out the stalks before serving the food. Interestingly, some people like to suck on those stalks because of its unique characteristics.
3. Grind Lemongrass and Season Over Dish
To do this, remove the hard outer layer of the stem until you see white stalks in the inner portion. Chop them up and pulse and until well-grounded.
Season ground lemongrass to your favorite dishes directly. Store the excess in an airlock container or zip lock and refrigerate until your next use.
4. Slice Thinly and Add to Salads
Break the stalk apart until you see the white or purple portion. This part is softer and can be chewed on with no problem. Slice the stalks very thinly and add to your favorite salad.
How to Prepare Lemongrass ?
Choose a fresh lemongrass with green and sturdy stalks. Cut off the roots and leaves, leaving a length of stem that you can use directly or bruise and mince.
If you’re going just to flavor the dish, you only need to rinse the stalks and bruise before adding to the recipe. Remove the stems before you serve the food.
If you want to incorporate lemongrass into the meal, remove the outer layer of the stalks. Chop finely or ground before adding into your cooking dish.
Lemongrass stalks keep well in the refrigerator inside a ziplock bag for 1 to 3 weeks. If you can’t find fresh lemongrass, consider getting the dried lemongrass. Use one tablespoon of dried lemongrass for every stalk required in your recipe.
Lemongrass is an excellent herb to get familiar with. It’s unique citrusy, yet minty flavors lend the wonderful dish flavors and delicious aroma.
It’s also flexible enough to use in wide range of dishes. So the next time you see lemongrass, pick up a stalk or two and use it in your recipes to see the difference.