Herb of the month: Lemongrass

Fans of Thai and South East Asian cooking will be familiar with lemongrass and its subtle citrus flavour often found in marinades, stir-fries, spice rubs and curries. It’s a kitchen staple for us, particularly as cooler weather has us tucking into warm fragrant recipes like Indonesian monkfish curry. For that reason we’ve decided to make lemongrass our October herb of the month. Read on for top tips about growing and cooking with lemongrass, plus our favourite lemongrass recipes. 

HOW TO GROW LEMONGRASS

You can actually grow lemongrass from stems bought in shops! In spring or summer, place the stems into small pots, put in a sunny spot and water. Roots should appear quickly from the base, at which point you should replant into larger pots. 

Lemongrass is a tropical herb and cannot stand frost, so grow it in containers so that it can be moved indoors after spending summer outside in the sun.

Lemongrass stalks can grow very long, from a foot upwards, but almost all of the flavour is contained in the bottom 5 inches or so of the stalk. 

Read more about how to grow lemongrass

HOW TO BUY AND STORE LEMONGRASS

You can buy lemongrass all year round, dry or fresh. As with most herbs, fresh is best. Look for stalks that are heavy and firm with no bruising. (If it feels light then it’s probably dried out.) Lemongrass will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge as long as you keep it wrapped in cling film to keep it from drying out.

HOW TO BUY AND STORE LEMONGRASS

There are two main ways to use lemongrass: either as an infusion, or chopped finely into a paste or marinade. 

To infuse soups, teas, and other liquids with lemongrass, trim off the spiky tops and bases of the lemongrass, then crush the stalks with the side of a knife to release their aromatic oils. Cut into 2-inch pieces before adding to your liquid, then remove before serving. 

To use lemongrass in marinades, rubs, and curry pastes, again trim off the spiky tops and bases of the lemongrass. Peel any dry outer leaves then chop very finely. 

LEMONGRASS RECIPES

Here are a few favourite recipes using lemongrass: