Lemongrass (sả) is widely used in Vietnamese cuisine as well as other Asian cuisines. It has a clean, crisp and citrusy aroma.
Where to buy lemongrass
You can find it at Asian grocery stores. My Western grocery stores start to carry lemongrass, but the price can be higher than at Asian stores. You can freeze it so if you like to cook Asian food regularly, you can buy extra and put in the freezer.
How to use lemongrass
Lemongrass goes well with all kinds of protein, from beef, pork, chicken to seafood and tofu. It can be used in marinades as well as in soups and stir-fries.
In Vietnamese cuisine, lemongrass is used very extensively in Southern-style cooking. Northern cuisine doesn’t use this aromatic as much.
How to prepare lemongrass
First, peel off the 1-2 outer layers which are often dry. Then, cut off the bottom bulb which is about an inch long. We want to use just the white and light-green part of the lemongrass, which is the 6-inch chubby lower end right next to the bulb. The skinny green part is tough and fibrous and doesn’t have as much aroma, so discard that part.
Depending on the recipes, you may need to cut the lemongrass in different ways. If you are cooking a soup, you usually need to smash/bruise the chubby part because smashing will help releasing the lemongrass fragrance. Then put the smashed stalk into the soup.
If you use lemongrass in marinade or stir-fry, again depending on the recipes, you may just need to slice it thinly or slice then chop it finely like in the photo below.
Recipes that use lemongrass
- Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops
- Authentic Bun Cha – Vietnamese Grilled Pork Meatballs with Noodles
- Vietnamese Grilled Beef in Lolot Leaves (Bo La Lot)
- Lemongrass Pumpkin Soup with Coconut Milk (Pressure Cooker & Stovetop)
- Vietnamese Lemongrass Chili Tofu (Dau Hu Chien Sa Ot)
- Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Belly
- Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Noodle Salad (Bun Thit Xao)
- 30-minute Salmon Noodle Soup
- Vietnamese Beef Banh Mi
- Ginger Orange Tea
- Steamed Clams with Thai Basil and Lemongrass