Information about Lemon Grass
Ingredient - Thailand
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Lemon grass (dtakrai)
belongs to the plant family Poaceae (grass). There are about 55 species most of
which are native to South Asia, and Australia but the "East-Indian"
lemon grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) which is native to India, Burma and Thailand
is the type most of us will use in cooking.
has a delicate lemony flavour and is used in a wide assortment of dishes such as
soups, salads and curries in many Asian cuisines and has become a very popular
"designer" ingredient in western cooking.
Lemon grass has
slender stalks about a foot long. For cooking use the stalks only and choose
thick, light green stalks that feel firm all along its length and that are not
dried out and wilted. Cut off the woody root tip of each stalk until the
purplish-tinted rings begin to show and remove the loose, dry outer layer(s).
Also, if the top of the stalk is dry and fibrous trim this off too. When using
it in cooked dishes, bang it with a cleaver to cruise the membranes and release
To store fresh
lemon grass, wrap well in clingfilm and refrigerate. Depending on how fresh it
was when purchased, it will keep for up to three weeks. It is also available in
dry or powdered forms however, when using dried lemon grass it should be soaked
in warm water to soften it before use. It's perfectly ok for cooked dishes, but
don't bother using it where a recipe calls for fresh uncooked lemon grass, such
as in salads.
grass can be grown in any frost-free area, or in a large pot so it can be moved
indoors for protection in winter, however it needs copious amounts of water. It
is bulbous and spreads outward in a clump (not by seed). If you can manage to
buy very fresh stalks, just pop one in a glass of water until the roots start to
grow then plant in a pot (any type of soil will do) and keep it in a hot sunny
position, remembering to water regularly. As they get larger, transplant to
bigger pots. Harvest the outside stalks first. One plant should be sufficient
for most households.
You will find
recipes using this fragrant plant on both the Thailand Cooking by Country main
page and in other sections of this web site. Use the search
facility to find them all.
by Country - Thailand