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The Ultimate Guide to Preparing Lemongrass Like a Pro

You’ve Been Preparing Lemongrass All Wrong

Lemongrass is a versatile herb commonly used in South Asian cuisines. However, many people find it challenging to work with due to its fibrous nature. In this article, we will guide you through the proper preparation techniques for lemongrass to help you unlock its amazing flavors in your dishes.

Understanding Lemongrass

Lemongrass is a perennial grass that can grow up to six to ten feet tall. It has a woody texture and a greenish-yellow color. The raw form of lemongrass has a subtle lemon aroma that can be both intriguing and intimidating to first-time cooks.
When used in cooking, lemongrass releases a fresh, green, ginger-like flavor. It is a common ingredient in soups, stews, curries, salads, cocktails, and even desserts. Lemongrass is often combined with coconut milk and other herbs to create delicious and aromatic dishes.

Preparing Lemongrass

To prepare lemongrass, you need to focus on the tender parts of the stem. Start by peeling off the stiff outer leaves to reveal the slightly softer layers underneath. Then slice the stalk in two, about half an inch from the root where the whitish color turns green.
To release the flavorful and fragrant oils, you can crush, bend, or flatten the lemongrass stem. This will enhance the flavor and aroma when incorporated into your dishes. Be careful not to discard the rest of the lemongrass just yet.
The middle part of the lemongrass stem, which often appears as the yellow part, is not edible. Similar to bay leaves, these middle parts are excellent for adding flavor, but should be removed before serving. Think of it as a seasoning, not something to chew on.

Using the Remaining Parts

After trimming the lemongrass stem, don’t throw away the tougher leaves. These leaves can be used to make a delicious and healthy tea. Simply steep the lemongrass pieces in boiling water to enjoy a refreshing beverage with potential health benefits.
Lemongrass has been reported to have several health properties, including improving digestion, potentially managing cholesterol and weight, and even reducing methane emissions from cows. In fact, Burger King has added lemongrass to the diet of some cattle in an effort to combat climate change.

More tips

Here are some additional tips to get the most out of lemongrass:

  1. Infusion: In some recipes, lemongrass is gently boiled to infuse the cooking liquid with its flavor. The hard-to-eat stems are then removed.
  2. Minced or chopped: For other dishes, you can use minced or finely chopped tender lemongrass, which is fully edible.
  3. Crushed: Lemongrass can be pounded, sometimes with other ingredients, to create an edible product with enhanced flavors.
  4. Lemongrass Powder: If you prefer convenience, lemongrass powders are available to simplify the preparation process.

Bottom line

Now that you know how to prepare lemongrass, you can confidently incorporate this aromatic herb into your culinary creations. Whether you’re making a fragrant curry or a refreshing lemongrass tea, mastering the art of lemongrass preparation will elevate your dishes to new heights. Enjoy the vibrant and zesty flavors that lemongrass brings to your cooking!


How do I prepare lemongrass for cooking?

Start by peeling off the outer leaves, then slice the stem and release the oils by crushing, bending or flattening.

Can I eat the middle part of lemongrass?

No, the central part is not edible. It is excellent for adding flavor, but should be removed before serving, similar to bay leaves.

Are the tougher leaves of lemongrass useful?

Yes, the tougher leaves can be used to make a delicious and healthy tea by steeping them in boiling water.

What are some of the health benefits of lemongrass?

Lemongrass can improve digestion, possibly help manage cholesterol and weight, and even reduce methane emissions from cows.

Are there any alternative ways to use lemongrass?

Yes, lemongrass can be infused, minced, chopped, crushed, or even used in the form of lemongrass powder for convenience in certain recipes.

What cuisines commonly use lemongrass?

Lemongrass is used in a variety of South Asian cuisines, including Thai, Vietnamese, and Indonesian dishes.

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