BURSTING WITH REFRESHING VIBRANT FLAVOUR, LEMONGRASS IS THE STAR OF THESE DISHES BY GINNY GRANT.
THE CITRUS-LIKE clean flavour of lemongrass is both refreshing and invigorating. A type of grass that forms into clumps, it can grow well in our climate and is often found in plant stores or markets. Avondale market is one of my favourite places to get a plant or even just fresh stems. This is also a good source of various chillies, tofu, noodles, plenty of Asian herbs such as sawtooth coriander, coriander, various basils and large bunches of dill and mint; if you are so inclined, look for some delectable Thai larb, pork sausage, sweets and chilli pastes.
Lemongrass can, of course, be found in most supermarkets and Asian grocery stores, fresh and frozen. I avoid dried lemongrass as it lacks flavour due to the loss of the volatile oils. The best flavour is found in the bulbous base of the stalk. Remove the fibrous outer leaves (you can use those to flavour a stock) and either slice thinly if going into a paste, or chop finely if going straight into a dish. If I’m making a stew or curry I use the back or side of my knife to bash and bruise the stalks to release the oils. The tops of the leaves are delicious steeped in hot water for a tea.