We take a look at a super-hero of an ingredient and give you five simple ideas of how to use them. Here Uyen Luu shares her best lemongrass recipes.
Lemongrass is a versatile and common ingredient used in Vietnamese cooking. Its lemony fragrance and flavour adds a unique sweet zest to savoury and sweet dishes as well as being great for drinks and infusions. It is best to buy lemongrass with its leaves firm to the body, without bruising or dried layers.
Bash… lemongrass with a rolling pin. It can also be charred to give a smoky flavour and then infused in noodle soup broths with beef, pork, chicken or fish for citrusy tones. After a slow simmer, add fresh lemongrass to the broth at the end to finish off. Garnish with mint, coriander, fresh chillies and a wedge of lime.
Chop… very finely, blitzed in a grinder or blender for curries and stews. It can also be cut into finger sized stalks, which can be removed at the end. Vibrant lemongrass flavours combines and balances very well with mellow coconut milk in curries which is then finished off with a squeeze of lime and enjoyed with a fresh baguette to dip in.
Mix… chopped lemongrass with sesame seeds, a touch of fish sauce or soy sauce, honey, garlic and chilli and use as a marinade for BBQ pork chops, thin slices of beef or chicken for banh mi, rice dishes and stir fries.
Infuse… lemongrass stalks in a sweet syrup (using rock sugar) with ginger and silkened tofu or poached in a sweet broth with fruits like peaches and a star anise. It is also a great ingredient to infuse for granitas and sorbets.
Slice… inches of a couple of lemongrass stalks into a teapot with boiling water (optional: with mint) for a lovely invigorating drink which is palate cleansing and refreshing.
My Vietnamese Kitchen by Uyen Luu, £16.99 published by Ryland Peters & Small.
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