How to Mumble Lemongrass

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By: Rachae's Nosheri


Lemongrass adds vibrant citrusy notes to soups and curries, or can even be minced to create tea or added into drinks as an ingredient.

Before using, herbs must be prepared prior to consumption by either chopping or pounding in order to release their flavor, with this article focusing on the latter method.


Before cutting or mincing lemongrass, remove its tough outer layers – typically accomplished using the back of a knife, though you could also use a cleaver or meat mallet if necessary – until they break apart into their constituent parts – soft yellow inner stalks beneath tough outer layers are used for cooking; woody areas and darker green-hued sections should be reserved for soups and curries where their durability can withstand higher heats.

Lemongrass is a perennial plant with long, fibrous stalks topped by multiple-layered rings that grow perennially in soil. Lemongrass can be found fresh or frozen at most markets and supermarkets; depending on the season it may have more or less rings and leaves; firm stalks indicate freshness while soft ones indicate past their prime and won’t taste quite so great. When purchasing fresh or frozen lemongrass it should have tight clumped stalks which feel firm to the touch to indicate quality flavorful lemongrass; look out for stalks which tend to break apart easily when handled or have soft mushy feels as these will likely have lost flavor without really adding much flavorful lemongrass flavor!

Remove the outer fibrous layers of each stalk using your fingertips, before cutting away at its base (where the bulb was) using a sharp knife and cutting up to two-thirds through it in one pass, discarding any tough or woodier top portions.

Prepared lemongrass can also be found at markets, sold either as bundles of trimmed stalks or tubes containing chopped and ground lemongrass paste. While these options provide an easy replacement when fresh lemongrass is unavailable, their flavor won’t compare to that of fresh varieties.

Whenever adding lemongrass to a recipe that calls for it, mince it finely and add it early in the cooking process so that its aroma and flavor infuse into the liquid. Otherwise use it to flavor a marinade or soup just before serving – lemongrass contains citral and limonene compounds with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties which have also been proven effective at lowering blood pressure; and some research indicates its use against nausea as well as headaches.


When working with thick herbs like lemongrass, it may be easier to chop it rather than smash or pound it. This is particularly useful when intending to use it in liquid dishes like broth or soup where this chopping method will break apart tough, fibrous stalks and release their flavors and aroma into your meal.

Lemongrass can be easily cut with either a sharp knife or food processor to achieve the same result, depending on its size, use in recipe and your preferred technique. The size and purpose of its stalk will also play a factor.

To cut lemongrass, start by trimming off the bottom inch of each stalk. Additionally, the tougher outer layers should also be removed as these often contain less flavor than their inner core counterparts. Once this step has been completed, six-inch pieces are ready for cooking!

Once you’ve removed the ends from the lemongrass, lay it flat on a cutting board and make thin rounds from it, aiming for similar thickness slices so they will chop more evenly. Alternatively, crosswise slices could provide finer dice. Finally, cubing up several small cubes will create even finer mince.

Chopping lemongrass is the optimal method for extracting its essential oils, and also for using minced lemongrass in liquid products. Simply take your knife and apply pressure against the plant while rocking back and forth in order to chop.

If you’re planning on making lemongrass tea, be sure to select fresh, firm stalks with light green bases and dark green tips. When selecting healthy lemongrass stalks for tea-brewing purposes, feel for dense textures that do not bend easily; limp pieces won’t yield as much flavorful output. Boil lemongrass in water to produce an enjoyable cup of herbal brew, just be sure to strain any chunks out after boiling!


Lemongrass brings its signature citrusy aroma to Southeast Asian dishes. The herb, produced by Cymbopogon citratus plants, can be found in Thai, Vietnamese and Cambodian cuisine to add zesty notes in soups, marinades, stews, fish dishes and beverages as well as desserts – though powdered lemongrass works just as well for many dishes!

Before using lemongrass, remove its woody bottom and a few inches of its tough green leaves on top. However, this step might not be necessary if purchasing pre-trimmed varieties at your grocery store. After trimming it yourself, pound it using either the back of a knife or pestle and mortar until its flavor infuses throughout your dish – adding lemongrass at the start will allow its flavors to infuse throughout it!

Pounded lemongrass stalk is edible and can be cut into pieces or minced to create a paste for use in soups, stews, marinades or grilled meats. Add it early in your cooking process so its flavors have time to blend with other ingredients or use chopped pieces later as an additive to brighten up dishes with brighten their flavors even further. Bruised or pounded lemongrass makes an excellent salad ingredient and even fresh, fragrant tea!

Oven-dried lemongrass stalks should be chopped into bite-sized pieces before adding them to any marinade, sauce or infusion recipe. Fibrous parts should not be consumed and should be discarded after peeling away tough outer layers. You can find frozen or pre-mash lemongrass at some grocery stores – beware if opting for this option as you must read labels carefully to make sure the stalks are fresh!


Lemongrass is an indispensable ingredient in Southeast Asian dishes, particularly Thai and Vietnamese cuisines, adding subtle flavor and aroma to soups, curries, marinades, roasted meats, tea beverages and refreshing lemongrass dishes. To achieve optimal flavor when using it in recipes or beverages, the stalk should first be minced finely for use; otherwise it will become tough and fibrous rather than aromatic and tender.

Fresh lemongrass can be found at Asian markets or some larger grocery stores, where it should be light green in color with firm stalks that feel firm to the touch and lack brown or dry parts; they should also smell fragrant. Frozen lemongrass makes an acceptable substitute, typically sold in the refrigerated section near other fresh herbs and Asian vegetables as either intact stalks that need trimming and mincing or tubes of precut, crushed and minced stalks.

If you plan to chop lemongrass yourself, start by using a sharp knife and clean cutting board that are free from contaminants. Remove the first 4-5 tough outer layers with your fingers to expose softer and more tender inner core; cut off bottom portion so you are left with about six-inch section; peel away outer layers from this section until you are left with soft and flexible lemongrass ready for cooking;

Once your lemongrass has been chopped, put the stalk in a glass of water or stock to keep it hydrated and preserve its freshness until you are ready to cook with it. Alternatively, wrap it in plastic and store in the freezer to ensure freshness when using in recipes. Frozen lemongrass lasts longer while being easy to work with when ready.

Another way to store fresh lemongrass is to cut off its hard and woody ends before freezing them together with some water in a bundle. This way, pieces can easily be broken off when needed while staying fresh and flavorful when used later on.

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Rachae's Nosheri

Rachael’s Nosheri is a Jewish deli located in 120 S. 19th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103. We serve breakfast and lunch comfort foods and deli sandwiches. Our extensive menu and reasonable prices make us a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. Our food is pretty good if you’re in the mood for deli sandwiches, and we’re known for our American, Bagels, Breakfast, Lunch Specials, and Sandwiches.

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