From a Thai Village to the Big City
I grew up in a world full of lemongrass and could tell you thousands of stories that evolve around this fragrant herb, from planting and cooking it, to all things related. But I will keep this short and sweet so that you can go straight to my recipes and prepare them.
Here in Seattle, I always have many lemongrass stalks in my refrigerator—not in the backyard like in Thailand, but both methods work for the Thai cook who wants to be able to add lemongrass to a recipe at a moment’s notice. When I do a hands-on class I make sure students learn how to prepare lemongrass three ways (please watch the video). This lesson results in a lot of leftover lemongrass, which I cook, freeze, or make into a powder. A few days ago my friend was visiting me and our discussion of this and that led us to the kitchen. I wanted to make a pesto-like paste for her to add to her marinade sauce. I decided to stop short of making the lemongrass paste and we wandered off to another topic. The idea for us today is to use up the lemongrass in my fridge and turn it into a versatile form ready to be incorporated into many dishes such as a wet rub for a marinade or a lemongrass tartar sauce to go with fried rock fish for a family dinner.
I wish you fun cooking this summer with the lemongrass paste recipe from my kitchen. First you have to start your lesson at home by learning how to prepare lemongrass for Thai cooking.
Click picture to view video on slicing lemongrass by Pranee
Slicing lemongrass properly is an important part of Thai cooking. I hope you spend some time learning the right way to do this and get enough experience to develop a solid technique. Don’t try to save time by slicing lemongrass into bigger pieces because you are using a food processor. The grain of this fibrous plant runs lengthwise of the stalk, so slicing it thinly against the grain is essential. Besides, it provides aroma therapy and a mindful moment in the kitchen!
Lemongrass has a citrus aroma that can blend into any dish. I make a lemongrass paste using extra light olive oil that you can use well beyond Thai cuisine. Like lime and lemon, it blends itself into any cuisine. I spread it out on toast like pesto, or add it to rice, curries, marinades, or just about anything. All become so delightfully fresh. Also, to my amazement, the fragrance of lemongrass and olive oil are divine together.
yield: 1/2 cup5 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and sliced (please watch Pranee’s Demonstration on YouTube) 1/4 cup extra light olive oil 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
Place lemongrass, olive oil and salt in the blender or mini food processor and blend. Use spatula to clean the side to make sure it well mixed. Repeat the process repeat the process several times until getting a smooth texture. Store in a jar, keep in the fridge for a week or up to three months in the freezer.
Lemongrass Tartar Sauce with Dill
In a one-cup bowl, stir together mayonnaise, lemongrass paste, serrano pepper, pickled cucumber and lemon juice until well-mixed. Stir in dill until it is well-combined. For the best results, prepare the night before or at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Lemongrass Pork on Lemongrass Skewer – Moo Yang Takrai (pccnaturalmarkets.com)
- Lemongrass Wet Rub (foodandwine.com)
- Prawn and Salmon Stir Fry with Lemon Grass and Mint (yummy.com)
- Lao Marinated Barbecued Chicken (devonium.wordpress.com)
- Coconut Curry Flounder (aggiegrltravels.wordpress.com)
- Hearts of Lemongrass (ideasinfood.com)