To mince lemongrass, first remove its tough outer layers until revealing its soft inner core, and then pounding to bruise and release its flavours.
This method requires some extra work, making it ideal for larger batches like curry or soup. Use the back or bottom of your knife handle to pound as needed.
Use a knife
Lemongrass is an aromatic tropical herb with citrus-y flavors that add citrusy zest to various dishes, especially Thai curries with coconut milk, chilies, and fish sauce, or used as an easy tea base. Lemongrass can also be added into marinades and soups to bring an added citrusy punch!
To mince lemongrass, use a sharp, sturdy knife. Although lemongrass stalks are tough and fibrous, mincing them with a knife can be quick and simple. For optimal results when working with lemongrass, be sure to wear gloves to prevent cutting your fingers.
First, trim off the hard, bulbous end of your stalk. Next, cut its remaining portion into two to three inch pieces – being careful not to throw away upper portions which remain edible and useful – but don’t waste them by throwing away. If there is more than you require for your recipe, store any extra pieces in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator.
When selecting lemongrass stalks for sale, look for stalks with pale green bases and darker green tips, along with an indicator sheen at its base to indicate freshness and flavorful qualities. Avoid those that appear darker green or yellow due to possible spoilage issues.
If you’re using lemongrass in a marinade or curry paste recipe, pounding it beforehand to release its flavors is key to unlocking its full potential. Use either a meat pounder or the back of your knife for this step; pounding will help break up its stringiness which often occurs when using this ingredient in recipes.
Once the lemongrass has been pounded, the next step should be chopping. Place each stalk on your cutting board and slice into thin rounds using a rocking motion; when done they should resemble bread crumbs.
If you’re using fresh uncooked lemongrass in a soup or stew, simmer for at least 30 minutes prior to adding lemongrass for optimal results. Otherwise, it should be added early so the flavor has time to develop before becoming bitter and overpowering – especially if using an unrefined option like dried herbs.
Use a blender/food processor
Lemongrass is a tropical plant with a distinct citrusy aroma that’s widely used across Asian cuisines – particularly Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Lemongrass plays an integral part in many dishes such as marinades, soups, curries, drinks and cocktails; its unique taste combining well with other ingredients to produce various unique tastes.
There are various methods available to you for mincing lemongrass, with food processors or blenders being the most commonly utilized methods. While this approach may produce faster and simpler results than using a knife, its results may not be as finely minced; to achieve optimal results it is recommended that the outer layers be removed prior to blending it for best results.
To prepare lemongrass for blending, remove its dried outer layer and cut off four to five inches from its bottom stalk. Next, slice down its middle so that a piece of soft and flexible lemongrass remains. Use this piece when creating your lemongrass paste.
Lemongrass can be used in numerous recipes, most often adding fragrance and flavor to soup. You may also infuse other beverages, like tea. Keep in mind that whole lemongrass stalks are inedible so pulverize or mince before incorporating into a recipe.
When it comes to using a food processor or blender to mince lemongrass, be sure to equip it with a strong and sharp blade. Fibrous parts of lemongrass stalk are difficult to separate; if you are having difficulty breaking them apart, try freezing it before cutting into pieces.
One way of mincing lemongrass quickly and effectively is with a mortar and pestle. While this traditional technique takes more time to accomplish its task, start by pounding lemongrass stalks with a kitchen mallet or side of knife until pound marks appear, before cutting into large pieces while discarding any tough outer portions.
Use a mortar and pestle
Lemongrass is an essential part of Southeast Asian cooking. From soups and curries, to marinades and desserts, its fragrant note adds depth and character. Lemongrass’ citrusy floral flavors add zesty depth to tea, cocktails, baked goods, tea time drinks and baked treats; adding its citrusy floral character is refreshingly tropical in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand dishes alike. However, many chefs struggle with how best to use these long stalks; proper preparation holds the key for success!
Before cutting lemongrass, remove and discard its base bulb. With a sharp knife, thinly slice lemongrass. Take care to ensure the slices don’t become too thick, as that could make chewing difficult. Continue until reaching the greener, more tender portion of its stalk.
Once your lemongrass has been cut into slices, the next step should be mincing it with either a knife or mortar and pestle. If using lemongrass for marinades or curry paste, using only its lower section for maximum tenderness; for use as part of an entire stalk bruise it by repeatedly bending over and over; this step releases essential oils that give lemongrass its fragrant qualities.
Before beginning, place the lemongrass slivers on a cutting board. Using the large, flat end of your chef’s knife, apply pressure against the lemongrass to crush it using either your fingers or side of your knife; you may need to soften it a little with another part of your chef’s knife, as needed. Alternatively, a mortar and pestle may work; alternatively you could try using either an edge of skillet or cast iron pan for this process. Once crushed, your lemongrass can then be chopped finely by any of two methods available to you:
Alternately, you can pound sliced lemongrass in a mortar and pestle or electric spice grinder until it forms a coarse powder – this method works great for adding lemongrass flavor into liquid dishes such as soups and syrups. To add fragrant touches to rice dishes such as delicate pasta or shell beans – slip some pounded stalks directly into the cooking water! Brew yourself a pot of lemongrass tea as a soothing elixir or to warm you on cold winter days!
Use an electric spice grinder
Lemongrass is an integral component of Cambodian cuisine and one that can be difficult to work with, from peeling and chopping through smashing and pounding. We asked Nite Yun, chef/owner of Oakland’s critically acclaimed Nyum Bai restaurant for guidance in order to understand its use as part of daily cooking routine.
At first, remove the tough fibrous outer layers of each stalk to reveal fresh lemongrass underneath. Peel as many layers as necessary depending on how fresh your lemongrass is; fingers or small paring knife work great here. Rinse lower portions of stalks thoroughly to eliminate dirt or pesticide residue that might remain.
Use a sharp knife to slice thin slices from each lemongrass stalk’s lower portion, either vertically or horizontally, taking care not to slice too close to its bulb (two inches from its bottom). Next, bruise the slices by making shallow cuts into them and then bending them multiple times so as to release their essential oils and flavoring properties.
Next step in lemongrass preparation for use in your dish: trim an inch off each stalk’s lower woody end before discarding it and cutting a few inches from its upper green leaves to be set aside for later.
Put the pieces into a mortar and use your favorite method of pounding them until fragrant – such as using your knife’s back side, pounding tool or rolling pin. However, be careful not to crush too many stalks under too much force as this could make them tough and unpleasant to consume. Once softened enough for inclusion into your recipe, either add early in the cooking process for increased intensity, or wait until just before serving to let its flavors shine through.