Lemongrass is a popular herb, especially in Thai, Vietnamese, and Asian cuisines. Used as a flavoring agent for many soups and stews, lemongrass also adds an aromatic flavor to marinades and sauces. To get the best out of its subtle flavor, improper cutting will make it tough and chewy when cooked with other ingredients.
Here are six easy steps to mince lemongrass appropriately:
1. Remove the Tough Outer Leaves
First of all, find fresh lemongrass and get good-sized stalks with a few side shoots. Chop off and discard the woody base of the stalk just where it meets the thicker green stalk. The tougher outer leaves of the lemongrass plant should be removed. It will reveal a softer, yellowish core with a sharp lemon scent. The pale yellow stalk is needed for bright flavor and is minced to add a citrusy aroma.
2. Cut off the Bulb
Cut off about an inch from the bulb so that you have a good amount of space to chop the stalk into small pieces.
Make sure you have a stable grip on your sharp knife and chop directly down in front of you. If your lemongrass is too tough to cut with just one whack, try chopping at it from different angles until it becomes easier to slice.
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3. Slice the Lemongrass
Stick to slicing horizontally since this can help prevent any uneven or jagged edges resulting from vertical chopping. Hold it by its base and then slice it thinly from the thickest part of the stalk.
Make several cuts below the first cut for a more even mince. Stop slicing once you reach its tender center section or until your slices resemble coarse ground black pepper. Aim for about thick slices, to begin with, and then adjust the thickness to your liking.
4. Reserve the Upper Stalks
After cutting off the bulb end, make sure to use this part of the lemongrass stalk in another recipe or discard it; it’s too tough to be minced. You can save the bulb ends until you have enough stalks saved up. The rest of the upper stalks are great for flavoring tea.
5. Make Use of the Upper Stalks
Try using one or two inches higher up on your lemongrass lengthier upper extremities for an extra flavor that isn’t as powerful as using just the bulbous ends. You can use a paring knife to scrape the fragrant lemon fibers from the upper stalks and add them to dishes.
6. Chop the Lemongrass
Now that you have your lemongrass prepared, it’s time to get chopping.
- Gather and pat dry the dry minced lemongrass pieces on paper towels so they won’t clump together in one big piece inside your mortar bowl later on during pounding.
- Proceed to pound them further using your pestle until fragrant. Be careful not to put too much strain on your arms when pounding.
- Suppose you softened the lemongrass beforehand using heat, like layering them on top of preheated charcoal or microwaving for one minute. In that case, pounding can be done more quickly and is manageable if it is already mashed up.
You can also use a food processor to prepare lemongrass instead of mortar and pestle. It’s entirely up to your choice.
Some Other Tips To Mince Lemongrass
Other tips that you can consider to mince lemongrass include:
- You can also soak your lemongrass in warm water before slicing it open if it has dried out due to age or storage conditions. Let it stand for about 10 minutes, then proceed with making your mince.
- If you end up with more lemongrass than you can use in one recipe, wrap it in parchment paper and store it in the freezer until ready for use later.
- Lemongrass will last for about 10-14 months when stored in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. Be sure to label the bag with the date, so it is thrown out before going bad.
- If you want to add a little more zest and flavor, try thinly slicing or julienning lemongrass before adding it.
- Lemongrass is most commonly used in marinades and sauces, and infusions. It is usually minced for this purpose rather than left whole or sliced. If you are looking to make an infusion of lemongrass, either with hot water or oil, the lemongrass itself must be cut into fine pieces so that it will remain submerged under the liquid while steeping.
- When you’re done mincing, be sure to clean up any juice on your board with a damp towel, so none seeps into the cracks of your countertop.
1. What Is Lemongrass?
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citrates) is a tall, grass-like plant that grows in warmer climates. It’s called “citronella” in some parts of the world and is used as an essential ingredient to flavor foods and make perfumes and insect repellents.
2. How Do I Use Lemongrass?
Lemongrass is a fragrant ingredient in many Southeast Asian dishes, including soups and curries. It’s also used to flavor teas, stir-fries, liqueurs, and candies. It can be ground into a fine powder or minced finely before being added to food.
Chop the stalks into small pieces before grinding with a mortar and pestle or an electric spice grinder until fine. Whole stalks can also be simmered in soups or stocks for 10 minutes before cooking to add great depth of flavor to your dish.
3. How To Deal With Dried Lemongrass?
To mince the dried lemongrass, start by chopping along one-half of the lemongrass lengthwise into very thin strips. Then, turn that piece 90 degrees and chop again lengthwise to create fine slivers. You can then either discard these slivers or continue to chop them further until you have reached your desired consistency.
Some prefer to chop their lemongrass as finely as possible, while others prefer a slightly less fine chop. Be aware that dried stalks are tougher during their lengthy drying process and may require more work to mince.
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Mincing fresh lemongrass stalks is a great way to add flavor to your dishes without adding too much sodium. We’ve shown you how to mince lemongrass using easy steps in this article. We hope that you found this information helpful and that you will use it in your own cooking adventures. What dish are you going to make with lemongrass? Let us know in the comments below!