Is Lemongrass this much waste?

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BAPyessir6

Senior Cook
Joined
May 15, 2020
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157
Location
Prior Lake
I bought 4 stalks of lemongrass from a supermarket near me (the market is walking distance and the nearest Asian market is 45 minutes away) and they're each about the width of a straw or half a straw. I heard from my friend who loves Vietnamese food to strip a few leaves, remove the core, knock off about half the top, then mince the grass from the bottom up only until it starts to feel fibrous. And so after preparing all 4 stalks like this I'm left with barely 1/2 tsp. minced lemongrass. Is this a correct preparation? I'm fine with buying more (as I need 5 Tbsp. for a dish) but I'm unsure if I'm being excessively wasteful.

Advice please!!!
 
It’s true that if you are including lemongrass as an ingredient in a dish you need to only mince up the bottom (you should have more than 1/2t from 4 stalks, IMO).

But save the rest of the stalks. Freeze them. They are great for infusing liquids like soup, tea, simple syrup, etc.

And I’d be reluctant to trust a recipe that calls for 5 tablespoons of minced fresh lemongrass unless you are cooking for 40 people.
 
I haven't used lemongrass much. This is what the lemongrass I bought looked like. I was told to bash the bottom, more bulbous part. To bash it several times, then mince it. I seem to remember getting at least a tablespoon of minced lemongrass from each of those stalks, that is the individual units (each with a number of leaves) in those bundles.

Serai.jpg
 
My first couple of recipes I ever had with lemongrass all said the same thing. In China when lemongrass was used it was not left in but removed. If it was left in - it was understood that it was the eater's responsibility to remove.
The stalk was only bashed and bruised and left whole, not chopped or minced.
 
My first couple of recipes I ever had with lemongrass all said the same thing. In China when lemongrass was used it was not left in but removed. If it was left in - it was understood that it was the eater's responsibility to remove.
The stalk was only bashed and bruised and left whole, not chopped or minced.
I’m with you.

I’m not a huge fan of recipes that mince up a very tough root and add it as an ingredient. It never softens. It’s like a bay leaf. It can be very easily added to flavor the dish without making it an actual ingredient.

Imagine adding 5 TABLESPOONS of it to a dish! Yikes!
 
I knew I had some photos showing the best way to cut the lemongrass! The way to cut the root end off is shown here, where I cut the woody part off until I saw the purple circular rings in the ends. There isn't much peeled off, when fresh grown, but the stuff bought in markets often needs several layers peeled off, until you have a soft, green layer. Then about 5 or 6 inches long, though some doesn't have this much usable. Some books tell you to cut it to 3" every time, but that's not always necessary. Once you get it to the purple rings, you can slice it thin, then mince the slices. If you use a mortar and pestle, start with the thin slices.
First lemongrass stalk, looks like only a small part needs cut, but it was over 1 1/2 inches that I had to cut. by pepperhead212, on Flickr


Final cutting of the first lemongrass stalk, showing what was cut off. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

And here's a photo showing some store-bought stalks I started for rooting, showing the sections of the wooden roots, that would have to be cut off, using for cutting up. The one on the left, with about 3", a 2" in the middle, and only about 1/2" on the right - the shorter is what you want, unless you are rooting! Only takes about 3 weeks to root, before planting outside.
Trimmed lemongrass stalks, ready to be soaked, for rooting. by pepperhead212, on Flickr
 
Like pepperhead says:
Look for the purple ring.

Lemongrass is basically used in two ways
Either bashed and like that in the dish, or cut finely or pounded in pestle and mortar (superior in my opinion)

@BAPyessir6
It sounds like you cleaned a bit to thorough.
I generally use around 4 stalks for a dish for 4 eaters, unless for something like lemongrass grilled chicken (https://shesimmers.com/2013/05/thai-grilled-chicken-lemongrass-grilled-chicken.html, gotta make it again)
 
You might have peeled back too much or cut too much off the top part but generally you'll get at least 1 tbsp per stalk. For the life of me I can't think of any recipe that would call for 5 tbsps. I've either used it for soups, rice and stews and then just removed the stalks afterwards or just sliced thin for marinades. If I'm using it for an actual stir fry then it's mortar and pestle time, generally.
 

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