Lemongrass is a naturally occurring oily herb, native to Asia. Used in cooking and herbal medicine for at least 5000 years, it has been cultivated all over Southeast Asia for at least 2000 years. It is grown on a commercial scale in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and China.
A typical piece of lemongrass would be around 20cm long with a slight bulge towards the end. Lemongrass might look a little like a fat spring onion, but the aroma is distinctly different. The color of lemongrass is a pale green with, slight brownish portions. To get the true aroma out of lemongrass it is necessary to cut the stem which releases a distinct citrus aroma that is bound to stimulate one’s taste buds. It is this lemon aroma and flavour that gives lemongrass its name.
This fragrant grass is a versatile performer in the kitchen and is widely used in preparing beverages, soups, teas, herbal medicines and other dishes. Lemongrass harmonizes well with coconut milk, especially with chicken or seafood, and there are countless Thai and Sri Lankan recipes exploiting this combination. Its stems are also used in teas, pickles and in flavouring marinades.
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