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Efficient Tips to Cut Lemongrass in a Really Easy Manner

Tips to Cut Lemongrass
Lemongrass adds a special sour and yet, refreshing flavor to Thai cuisine - one of the reasons why people love Thai cuisine. But try to make it at home, and one is quite at a loss of how to add lemongrass to their Thai recipes! Learn here, how to cut lemongrass for Thai cuisine.
Mrunal Belvalkar
Last Updated: Sep 25, 2017
Lemongrass - or Cymbopogon citratus - is a kind of grass that is used in Thai, Asian and Caribbean cuisine. Also known as Citronella grass, lemongrass has been used by humans over several hundred years now. It has many health benefits. The essential oils extracted from the grass have shown to have various medicinal as well as insect repellent properties. Lemongrass has a distinct aroma and adds a peculiar sour, grassy and yet pleasant taste to food. For those who are interested in world cuisine, Thai recipes are quite an attraction. However, being interested in world cuisines means having to process unknown foodstuffs once in a while. Many are befuddled about how exactly to use lemongrass in different world cuisine recipes. Here, I will explain how to buy the right kind of lemongrass stalks from the market, and how to go about enriching your recipe with it.
Buy the Right Bulb
Lemongrass is available in the food market in the form of long stalks. Lemongrass is propagated vegetatively, in the form of bulbs. The part of these lemongrass bulbs that is actually used in Thai - and sometimes Asian - cuisine is the actual bulb, the lower fleshy part of the stalk. But as this part of the stalk is buried underground, it gets hard. While picking fresh lemongrass from the food market, hence, be careful to select stalks that have a soft fleshy bulb. One way to check this would be to make an incision in the bulb with your fingernail. If you can easily pierce the bulb, it is fresh and tender, perfect for your recipe.
Cutting the Lemongrass
Once you get your fresh lemongrass home, wash it thoroughly under running tap water to remove all the dirt. Wipe it clean with a soft cotton cloth. Your stalk is now ready for chopping.

● Peel off a few of the outer layers from the bulb. They are usually brown in color and have lost their flavor. It is best to throw them away.
● Take a sharp chef's knife. A Japanese knife will also do the trick - personally, I prefer them over the regular chef's knife. Make sure you wash it clean too, before use.
Chef knife
● Hold the stalks close to the bulb. Chop off a little bit of the beginning portion of the bulb. Discard it.
● Start chopping the bulb and work your way upward the stalk. The chops should be more-or-less equal in size.
Cutting lemongrass
● If you are going to use the chops without grinding or crushing them, make sure the chops are not too thick. The thinner the chops, the better they will cook and taste. (I use the chops without any processing in soups and rice. Taste yum!)
Lemongrass slice
● Another tip would be - if you are going to use the chops without any processing, you could cut the lemongrass by holding the knife at an angle to the bulb - that way you would get oval chops instead of circular. They look a lot prettier in the soups and the rice. They also cook faster - since oval chops have a greater surface area - and the recipe develops a better taste and aroma.
● If you are going to grind the chops and turn them into a powder or paste, you can take the liberty and let the chops be a little coarse. They can also be of uneven size/thickness, since you are going to grind them anyway!
● Work your way up the stalk till you have chopped about 3/4th the length of the stalk. Usually the leaves begin to fall apart after that. The stalk also becomes less tender towards the top. However, don't throw the remainder of the stalk away! I will tell you what to do with it.
● Now collect the chops and grind them in a food-processor. You can even crush them into a coarse powder/paste using a mortar and pestle.

Your lemongrass is ready for use!
The Remainder Stalk
You can put the remainder of the stalk to use too, though it is not edible. Take a small paring knife and make small cuts in the stalk. Do not cut it all the way into pieces. Simply make small incisions in it. Now roll up the stalk between your palms and rub it together. The stalk will bruise. Now add this bruised stalk to your recipe. The bruising helps the aroma in the remainder of the stalk to enrich the recipe further. However, like I said before, this part of the lemongrass stalk is not edible - so make sure you pick it out of the recipe before you serve it.
For those of you who like drinking tea, especially herbal tea, the remainder of the lemongrass stalk can be used to make a nice refreshing healthy cuppa lemongrass tea too! Throw in a few mint leaves, some shreds of ginger, a few pods of cardamom, and you have yourself a health drink!
Herbal lemongrass tea
Lemongrass acts much like a multipurpose herb. The uses of this herb are manifold. Apart from being an integral part of most Thai and some Asian recipes, lemongrass can also be used as a medicine - keeping minor cough and cold at bay. It would be a good idea to keep a potted lemongrass in the house - it is hardy, does not require much plant-care, and growing it in the house will ensure a fresh supply of lemongrass every time you want! Trust me, it is much better than the dry powder you get in the market. Hope you make a lip-smacking recipe tonight! Enjoy!