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Old 03-24-2012, 11:08 PM   #1
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Lemon grass - ideas?

Aloha friends! I am in our vacation condo and i have some lemon grassl have never used. I have some pork, bell pepper, pineapple, but dont know what to do with the lemon grass. Help!
Im using my Nook Tablet and about to start dinner.
Mahalo!
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:15 PM   #2
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I am no pro with lemongrass but i would chop it up with your other ingredients and marinate with it.

On second thought I would marinate the pork with the lemongrass and some soy and then make some kebobs with all the ingredients.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:22 PM   #3
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Thanks FM, but do you know how to deal with this tough reed like thing?
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:25 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Kayelle View Post
... do you know how to deal with this tough reed like thing?
Here's how to deal with lemongrass:
  1. chop off about 1/2 inch at the root end and trim the dried tops
  2. peel off and throw away a few outside leaves
  3. place the lemongrass in one layer between 2 sheets of plastic wrap
  4. smash the hell out of it with a rubber mallet
  5. smash it some more until it's smashed to a pulp
  6. remove from the plastic and use a knife to cut it into thin slices
  7. discard any tough bottom parts that didn't smash/mince thoroughly
  8. throw away the rest of the top end you held while you were cutting/slicing
  9. mince it by chopping with your knife in a seesaw motion
  10. repeat until it's extremely finely minced
That's it!

You can use it in a lot of sauces, marinades and curries, particularly anything with an Asian or Southeast Asian accent. Particularly peanut dipping sauce for various appetizers, Thai or Asian style barbecues (as an ingredient for the marinade), and Thai curries with coconut milk, curry paste, nam pla (fish sauce), kaffir lime leaves, Thai chili peppers, etc.

Tip: you can reserve unused minced/smashed lemongrass by putting it in a small dish and adding only the minimum amount of oil (e.g. EVOO) to cover it, and then use in any recipe that also includes oil (e.g. marinades or sauces or curries that also include oil as an ingredient). It will last for a week to 10 days in your refrigerator.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:29 PM   #5
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Here's how to deal with lemongrass:
HUH??
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:42 PM   #6
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Trim the LG and smash it with the back edge of your knife. Add it to chicken broth with ginger, garlic, chilies. Simmer for 30 minutes and strain. Discard the solids. Add mushrooms to the stock. Cut the pork into thin strips and sear in hot oil. Add to the stock and simmer until cooked through. Season with soy, sesame oil and a splash of rice vinegar or lime juice.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:44 PM   #7
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Be careful with it in sauces and stuff, the more you cook it, the more bitter it gets.

Using it in marinades and what not, you need to allow your product plenty of time to marinate.

For soups, just thin rings of it, sauteed to start with ginger or galangal, garlic, shallot, red chili peppers, sesame oil, fish sauce, mirin, and shoyu . Then go in with chicken stock, coconut milk, shrimp, bring to a simmer and finish with some fresh Thai Basil, cilantro, and green onion.

Treating lemon grass like you would tea, or cinnamon, anything you would steep, is great for teas and beverages too.

There are parts of it that are more palatable, and easier to manage, mainly from about 2 inches about the root, and the section where it is the most bulbous. The top parts are better reserved for stocks/broth/soups.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:46 PM   #8
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GG is right pretty much. Discard all the tough stuff stuff and slice thin or mince the interior stuff. Blender or FP will work too. For marinade slicing is pretty good. Very lemony/grassy/limey/sour. Add some brown sugar or something sweet and marinate your pork with it. Add some liquid too,maybe sake/mirin/beer/yuzu whatever.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:54 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Kayelle View Post
HUH??
I started my reply and hit the "post quick reply" button instead of the "go advanced" button when I realized I needed a list and QR doesn't have the list button. You read my post in the few minutes while I was editing to add the details.

I hope you got the full lemongrass 101 now. You pretty much need to go through the smashing no matter what recipe you use it in, and lemongrass resists all but the most extreme food processing due to its very fibrous nature. It can also be dealt with if you're using traditional Thai paste making methods where you macerate all your paste ingredients with a mortar and pestle.

IMO the smashing between sheets of plastic is so routine I never even think about using lemongrass without it, and smashing is very very stress relieving and therapeutic!
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:57 PM   #10
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i hope i'm not too late, k-l.

i think greg is describing how to make lemon grass mash or paste for use in cooking. lemongrass can have very tough layers.

if you have a lot, like where you just need to get rid of lemongrass because it can get invasive in a garden, use the overage of stalks as a skewer for the pork, bell pepper, and pineapple, then grill.

just strip down the lower section of the lemongrass to a pencil thin stick.
use a slightly smaller wooden stick (like a chopstick) to make holes in the pork, pepper, and pineapple, then carefully feed the lemongrass skewers through.
as they grill, the lemongrass wil flavour the things skewered on it.

i've done this with chunks or folds of white fleshed fish (or shrimp), with peppers and onions, cherry tomatoes, and beer soaked mushrooms (button, crimini, and even shiitake). it was fantastic!

this technique also works with rosemary branches, and sage stems. pick off most of the needles/leaves retaining a few and leaving a bunch of smaller ones on one end for effect, then skewer pre-drilled food.

hth.
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