Curry is a popular Thai dish that can be cooked in various ways. One of the key ingredients in many Thai curries is lemongrass, which adds a unique flavor and aroma.
This article will discuss using lemongrass in Thai curry and its benefits. We will also discuss the different types of lemongrass and how to store it. Let’s get started!
Lemongrass, also known as citronella or ‘takrut’ in Thailand, is a tall, aromatic plant that grows abundantly in tropical climates. It has a distinctive, citrus-like aroma and flavor and is an essential ingredient used in Thai cooking.
Commonly used in both sweet and savory dishes, lemongrass can be used to make tangy soups, fragrant curries, mild dipping sauces, and piquant salads.
It can also be pounded into a paste with other aromatic ingredients to create flavorful pastes often used for marinating meats and curries.
When buying dried lemongrass stalks (readily available at supermarkets), buying only what you need is best as they do not keep fresh for very long.
Fresh lemongrass stalks should have firm stalks with no signs of wilting or discoloration. Most Southeast Asian markets will provide fresh lemongrass, which can be stored in the freezer for up to six months if necessary.
The most common way of using the plant is by:
- Chopping off the base of the stalk
- Removing any woody outer layers
- It is crushing or slicing it very thinly to infuse its flavor into recipes or beverages such as tea.
The crushed stalks can also be boiled until they soften and added directly to curries, stir-fries, and rice dishes like congee.
Benefits of lemongrass
Lemongrass is prized in Thai cuisine for its refreshing lemony flavor and pronounced aroma. It is essential in many Thai dishes, such as soups, salads, curries, stir-fries, and teas.
In addition to providing an authentic Thai taste to dishes, lemongrass provides numerous health benefits.
Lemongrass contains many vital vitamins and minerals, including calcium for bone health, iron for red blood cells, and vitamin C for immunity support.
Additionally, lemongrass is rich in antioxidants which can help reduce inflammation and fight free radicals. Lemongrass also has antimicrobial properties, which can help protect against bacterial and fungal infections.
In addition to these potential health benefits, lemongrass is a great way to enhance the flavor of many dishes like soups and curries without adding extra calories or fat.
Since it is low in calories, it can be an excellent substitute for those looking to cut down on their caloric intake but still enjoy flavorful meals!
Types of Lemongrass
Lemongrass is a critical ingredient in many Thai curries and one of the essential ingredients for adding a zesty, citrusy flavor to the dish. Several different types of lemongrass are available, each of which contributes its unique flavor to the curry.
In this section, we’ll discuss the different types of lemongrass and how they can be used in Thai curries:
Fresh lemongrass is a critical ingredient in Thai curries, providing a distinct flavor and fragrance. It also contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help boost your immune system.
Fresh lemongrass infusions can help support liver health, digestion, circulation, and kidney function.
When choosing fresh lemongrass, look for bright green stalks that have not yet started to turn yellow. Avoid stalks with black or soft spots, as these are signs of spoilage; the stalks should be flexible but firm.
When purchasing fresh lemongrass, ensure they are free of blemishes, cuts, or bruises and have a pleasant aroma – a smell indicative of an intense lemon flavor – when sniffed from a distance.
To prepare fresh lemongrass for Thai curries, trim off the brutal end of the stalk first, then remove any dry outer layers until you reach the white/light green inner layers.
These inner layers are more tender and will break down quickly during cooking, giving Thai curry its flavor.
When chopping or slicing the stalks for a curry paste or other purposes such as herb garnish, it’s best to use a sharp knife to slice through cleanly without bruising them too much.
Fresh lemongrass should always be added towards the end of cooking to preserve its unique aroma and taste profile.
Dried lemongrass is a convenient and easy-to-use form of this fragrant herb. To rehydrate dried lemongrass, place 1 teaspoon of the dried herb in warm water for 10 minutes.
Then drain it and give it a rough chop before adding it to your dish.
This is perfect for making curries or stir-fries. Because of its intense flavor, you don’t need to use as much as you would with fresh lemongrass – usually, about 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of reconstituted dried lemongrass can be used with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh.
You can also sometimes find powdered or finely chopped lemongrass at Asian markets – try to stick with tightly sealed packages rather than open bins.
Once opened, use the powder within 6 months for the best flavor and aroma. Use 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of powder for every tablespoon (15 ml) fresh called for in the recipe.
Powdered lemongrass is an easy substitute for fresh lemongrass for Thai curry. It is suitable for dishes that require the distinctive lemongrass flavor, such as green and red curries, and soups, such as tom yum.
Generally, when making a Thai curry, you will use about half to one teaspoon of powdered lemongrass for every tablespoon of fresh lemongrass.
The powder can be added at the same time as other spices, or it can be added at the beginning along with the onion and garlic for subtle flavoring throughout your dish. The powder will give your dish a pleasant aroma and unique flavor, enhancing its overall taste.
Powdered lemongrass has many other uses beyond Thai curry dishes. It can also be used in the following:
- Marinades and sauces give them an extra kick of flavor and aroma,
- Salad dressings and dips, and
- Baking recipes to add a hint of lemony sweetness!
Whatever you decide to do with these fine-ground leaves, remember that one teaspoon of powdered lemongrass roughly equals two teaspoons of freshly minced stems or leaves.
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Preparing Lemongrass for Thai Curry
Lemongrass is one of the key ingredients in making a delicious Thai curry. The flavor and fragrance of lemongrass add depth to the dish’s overall taste.
Preparing lemongrass correctly can make all the difference between a good and great Thai curry. Let’s talk about how to prepare lemongrass for Thai curry.
Chopping Fresh Lemongrass
Fresh lemongrass is commonly used in Thai curry dishes to add a bright flavor and refreshing citrusy aroma. When it comes to preparing lemongrass, the process typically starts by first selecting a stalk that is fragrant and firm with no bruises or signs of decay.
Chopping fresh lemongrass into small pieces can be done in two primary methods – slicing and crushing.
- Slicing: Slice the stalks sideways as thin as possible using a sharp knife. This method works best for soups and stir-fries.
- Crushing: Remove any tough outer leaves from the stalk and use either a mortar and pestle or the flat side of your knife blade to pound against it gently. This releases the lemon-like fragrant oils within the stalk resulting in more flavor than just slicing alone, making it great for sauces, marinades, or Thai curries.
Preparing Dried Lemongrass
Dried lemongrass, or lemongrass powder, is essential in many Thai dishes. It can be found in most Asian markets or online retailers. While it is not as strong as fresh lemongrass, the dried herb adds flavor to Thai curries.
Dried lemongrass must first be rehydrated by soaking it in water until it softens and becomes fragrant – usually about 15 minutes.
The softened stalk can then be cut into thin slices and added directly to your curry dish or pan-fried for a few minutes before adding other ingredients. The flavor from dried lemongrass isn’t quite as strong as fresh but is still quite flavorful and aromatic.
For extra potent flavor, you can make a lemongrass paste by combining one dried lemongrass with two parts boiling water and blending until smooth.
This paste can be a base alternative to fresh or powdered lemongrass when making Thai curries or other dishes that call for the herb.
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Using Powdered Lemongrass
You can also use powdered lemongrass for Thai dishes as an alternative to fresh lemongrass. This will give the dish a milder and smoother flavor.
Dissolve one tablespoon of powdered lemongrass in half a cup of hot water to use powdered lemongrass. Allow the mixture to cool, and strain it into a small bowl or cup.
Afterward, add this liquid to the dish you are preparing and simmer it with the other ingredients until done. The resulting flavor will closely resemble that of fresh lemongrass.
However, note that more powder should be used if you prefer a more robust, lemony flavor.
Lemongrass is a highly aromatic herb used in Thai dishes, adding a refreshing flavor to curries, soups, and other dishes. This herb can be found fresh, dried, or in a paste form, adding a unique layer of flavor to dishes.
To use lemongrass in Thai curry, it is essential to prepare the herb correctly. Here we will discuss various recipes that feature lemongrass and how to use it when cooking Thai curry.
Green Curry with Lemongrass
Green Curry with Lemongrass is an aromatic and delicious Thai dish. Lemongrass, or tone-krai in Thai, is a fragrant herb that adds a bright and distinct flavor to the green curry.
It’s often used to add depth to stir-fries, curries, soups, and broths in Southeast Asian cooking. Lemongrass helps bring out the flavors of other herbs and ingredients when blended into a paste with red or green curry pastes.
With green curry paste, lemongrass can be combined with other herbs such as coriander seeds, cumin seeds, shrimp paste, chilies, and lime leaves to create an aromatic flavor blend for the curry.
Other common ingredients for Green Curry with Lemongrass are kaffir lime leaves (bai makegood), galangal (kha), fish sauce (nam pla), and coconut cream (Kati).
This dish is cooked in coconut milk until it reduces to a thick sauce-like consistency and pairs with the flavors of the lemongrass infusion. It’s served over rice or noodles as a light meal or elaborate dinner.
To make your delicious version of Green Curry with Lemongrass at home, you’ll need the following:
- Green Curry Paste
- Coconut Milk
- Kaffir Lime Leaves
- Fish Sauce
- Shrimp Paste
Follow these steps to cook Green Curry with Lemongrass:
- Prepare all your ingredients before you begin cooking. Peel and chop once sat down into cubes or strips. This will vary depending on the size of the ingredient4 lime leaf for later use. Add coconut milk/curry paandn d bring it to boil over medium heat.
- In another pan, heat some oil on medium heat ad add all east ifois chopped & said kaffir lime leaves& en@ lemongrass stalks.
- Once fragrant, stir in curry pastechiliesies & stir fry for 4 – 5 minutes but ensure that it does not go dark
- And the d backrest of ingredients, including fish sauce, brown the vegetables
- Pour diluted coconut milk into add evaporated mix & simmer
- When vegetables are cooked, stir whecheckingck tsp salt if wanted
- Finally, garnish crushed kaffir lime leaves &lemongrasstechniques
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Red Curry with Lemongrass
Red curry with lemongrass is a quick and easy Thai-inspired dish. This simple recipe combines the exotic flavors of lemongrass, coconut milk, red curry paste, and fish sauce to create a fragrant and flavorful meal.
The aromatic lemongrass provides a zesty citrus flavor, while the red curry paste brings the heat. Serve over basmati rice or jasmine rice to complete the dish.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 stalks of lemongrass (outer layers discarded) lightly pounded and chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
- 1 (14-ounce) can of light coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
- Heat the oil in a medium stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes until softened.
- Add the red curry paste, ginger, lemongrass, and chili flakes (if using), and stir to combine. Cook for an additional minute until fragrant.
- Pour in the coconut milk and stir to combine; bring to a low simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add in the fish sauce; a taste for flavor balance before adjusting seasoning if necessary with salt or additional fish sauce if it needs more depth of flavor or sweetness. If it needs more heat, next, add a bell pepper strip.
- Reduce heat to low; simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, then serve over hot cooked basmati or jasmine rice.
Massaman Curry with Lemongrass
Massaman curry is one of the most popular Thai curries, often featuring the fragrant flavor of lemongrass. This recipe combines classic Massaman flavors with chunks of pork, potatoes, onions, and lemongrass to create an intensely flavorful dish that will spark your taste buds.
To prep this dish, you’ll need to grab a few ingredients:
- 1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons Massaman curry paste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup homemade vegetable stock or reduced-sodium broth
- 2 tablespoons minced lemongrass (substitute freeze-dried lemongrass)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- ¼ cup salted roasted peanuts (plus more for sprinkling on top)
- Two tablespoons of reduced-fat coconut milk.
Then you’ll need to start cooking: Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat and add the pork cubes. Cook until they’re browned on all sides. Add the curry paste and stir to combine with the pork cubes. Next, add the honey, stock or broth, lemongrass, onion, garlic, potatoes, and fish sauce.
Bring this mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until potatoes are tender. Add in peanuts at the end of cooking time.
Lastly, pour coconut milk before serving, then sprinkle with additional peanuts if desired. Serve over steamed jasmine rice or cauliflower “rice” for a gluten-free version. Enjoy!
Conclusion: How To Use Lemon Grass In Thai Curry
In conclusion, lemongrass is a critical ingredient in the delicious flavors of Thai curry. Its unique flavor and ability to infuse all the other ingredients in the curry make it a staple of many Thai dishes.
As you continue to explore Thai cuisine, take time to appreciate the flavor and aroma that lemongrass provides.
Using the abovementioned techniques, you can incorporate this distinctive herb into your go-to Thai meals or use it as an excellent garnish for soups, fish, vegetables, and meats. Enjoy experimenting with lemongrass!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is lemongrass?
A: Lemongrass is a grass native to India and other parts of Asia. It has a unique citrus flavor and is used in many Thai dishes, including curries.
Q: How do you prepare lemongrass for use in Thai curry?
A: Cut off the stalk’s top and bottom to prepare lemongrass. Peel away the outer layers until you reach the tender, pale yellow center. Then, chop or mince the lemongrass and add it to the curry paste.
Q: How much lemongrass should be used in a Thai curry?
A: The amount of lemongrass used in a Thai curry will depend on the type and flavor of the curry. Generally, 1-2 tablespoons of minced lemongrass should be enough for a single serving of curry.