When you're making Thai curries or sweet and spicy soups, lemongrass will take your dishes from good to great. It lends a sweet, zesty flavour and aroma that's a signature of Thai and Vietnamese dishes. It's delicious in stocks and with poultry, beef, fish or seafood and blends well with garlic, chilies and lime.
When you're shopping for lemongrass, look for firm and fragrant stalks which should be a light lemony-green colour on top with a pale yellow bulb. You can find usually find lemongrass with the fresh produce at most Asian supermarkets. If not, try the frozen section where they are sold in packets.
The trick to getting the most flavour out of your lemongrass is to bruise it. Simply whack it slightly with a rolling pin or the back of your knife, or bend it in several spots to release its flavour and aroma. Then to prepare your lemongrass, cut off the lower bulb about 2 inches from the base and peel the outer layers until you reach the softer inner core. Slice the core thinly two-thirds of the way up the stalk. While the upper stalks and outer layers are too tough and fibrous to be eaten, you can use them to flavour your curries, stews and stocks--just remove them before serving.
To store, seal your lemongrass in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks, or freeze them up to about 6 months. And don't worry if you don't have lemongrass on hand, you can substitute it with some finely grated lemon zest.
Here's some Tested-Till-Perfect recipes you can use your fresh lemongrass in tonight: