If you are like me, you are well aware of the delicious tangy citrus aroma that Lemongrass lends to Asian cuisine. If you are also like me, you are likely baffled by how to actually cook with Lemongrass. When I asked my husband the other day, a seasoned chef, if he had ever prepped lemongrass (rather than buying it ground up at the store), he said no! So I figured a good little how-to on prepping Lemongrass (in AHO boxes this week) would be handy for seasoned and novice chefs alike.
To begin, you want to dissect the Lemongrass into parts. First chop off and discard the leafy tops and the rough bulb end. This should leave you with a nice stalk, typically light green at the top to yellowish-white at the bottom.
Next you want to remove the outer husk of the grass to reveal a smooth inner stalk.
The manner in which you will use the Lemongrass will determine how you prep it.
For use in curries and curry paste you will want to chop the stalk against the grain (which runs lengthwise) into larger slices.
For use in stir-fry you will want first to chop the stalks into larger chunks and then pound them with either a mortar and pestle or the back of a knife to break the stalks and release the oils.
Then dice into small pieces to add to stir-fry. Adding the Lemongrass at the very end of the cooking process will allow the herb to maintain its potency.
For use in soups and teas for steeping, you will want to also pound the stalks (as shown above) but there is no need to chop further. This way stalks can be easily removed when soups are finished or your tea has finished steeping
Check out a few of our favorite Lemongrass recipes: