The stalk of the lemongrass plant has a
floral, lemon-lime flavor that is one of the hallmarks of many Vietnamese,
Malaysian, Thai and other Southeast Asian dishes. Each stalk looks like a
stiff, fibrous scallion and can be used raw or cooked in marinades,
salads, curries and soups.
When choosing lemongrass, look for
lemongrass stalks that are firm and pale to medium green, with pink-tinged
white bulbs at the base. Any that are dry and yellow are past their prime
and have lost most of their flavor and fragrance.
Lemongrass can be stored by wrapping it in a
plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Or, for longer storage,
peel off the tough outer leaves, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, seal in a
zipper-lock freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.
To use in broths, soups and stews, peel off
and discard the tough outer leaves until you reach the scallion-like bulb.
Pound it with a mallet to soften the fibers and release flavors. Add to
hot liquids near the beginning of cooking time, and simmer. Remove before
Lemongrass can also be used in marinades,
salads and stir-fries. Again peel off and discard the tough outer leaves
until you reach the scallion-like bulb. Slice the bulbs into thin rounds,
then finely chop and add as a flavoring.