Lucious Lemongrass/ Recipes, some Kosher

In the theatre production or movie made the major character typically has a side kick, a buddy, a counterpoint or antagonist that is in place to showcase the talent of the lead. Such is the case with lemongrass in the food world.

Lemongrass is a very versatile plant and can be integrated into just about any recipe from appetizers to desserts. This subtle Asian centric plant offers a subtle citrusy lemon-like (hence the name lemongrass) flavor to any and all dishes it’s used in. Never a main ingredient this green onion looking like plant was nearly impossible to find for years anywhere else but in an Asian grocery. These days, however, lemongrass has become mainstream and often available at farm stands and in the produce section of more upscale or urban grocery stores.

When you’re buying lemongrass you should look for firm stalks. The end (where most of the flavor is concentrated) of the stalk should be plump, rounded and pale yellow (almost white) and the upper stalks should be green. Avoid any lemongrass with yellow or browning leaves.

To use lemongrass in marinades, a stir fry, salads, curry or baked item, you will need to trim the top and base of the stalks and then peel off any dry or tough outer layers. You should only use the bottom 4 inches or so.  The lemongrass flavor becomes more intense the longer it’s cooked so if you want a strong lemongrass flavor; add it at the beginning of your cooking. For a lighter more subtle lemongrass flavor, add it at the very end of your cooking. Storing lemongrass is simple.  Keep it whole, uncut and wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to three weeks, or you can freeze it for up to six months.

Lemongrass may be the understudy ingredient in the following recipes but the flavor it brings to the table gives the dish star quality.

SAIGON CHICKEN SALAD

 

1cup chopped fresh cilantro

5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons lemongrass stalk, finely chopped

3 large lime leaves, minced or substitute 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel for each lime leaf.

1/2 cup olive oil

kosher salt

1 1/4pounds skinless boneless chicken breast halves (4 to 5)

5 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam) (or soy sauce)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons minced jalapeno or Serrano chilies with seeds

2 teaspoons minced garlic

3 cups Chinese long beans or green beans, cut into bite sized pieces, blanched

8 ounces tomatoes, seeded and cut into strips

1 cup coarsely grated peeled daikon (Japanese white radish) or trimmed red radishes

1 cup coarsely grated seeded English cucumbers

1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage

1cup coarsely grated carrot

1cup mince celery

1cup fresh cilantro leaves

3 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal

1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts

 

In a bowl combine the cilantro, lemon juice, lemongrass, and lime leaves and whisk to combine. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken in single layer in a glass baking dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken flipping it once to coat evenly. Cover and chill 3 hours. In a heated grill pan cook the chicken (with a tablespoon or two of marinade). Cook 4 to 6 minutes per side. Remove from heat, cool and cut into strips. Set aside.

 

In a bowl combine the fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, chiles, and garlic. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let stand at room temperature; whisk before using.

 

Place the blanched beans in large bowl. Add the tomatoes, daikon, cucumbers, cabbage, carrot, celery leaves, cilantro leaves, green onions, and most of peanuts. Toss to combine. Add the chicken and dressing; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mound salad on large rimmed platter. Sprinkle with remaining peanuts and serve Serves 8

 

Modified from a recipe by Kajsa Alger of Street in Los Angeles

 

LEMONGRASS MEATBALLS IN LETTUCE CUPS

 

1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, pork, turkey or chicken

1lemongrass stalk, bottom 5 inches only, smashed with rolling pin, then minced

1/4 cup chopped green onions

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1tablespoon oil

1teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

 

Dipping sauce

1lemongrass stalk, minced

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4cup fish sauce

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons grated carrot

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons minced green jalapeno pepper

 

2 tablespoons oil

1head of butter lettuce leaves separated

1small English cucumber, thinly sliced

 

Chill the meat in the freezer while making lemongrass paste. You want it cold, not frozen. In the bowl of a food processor combine the lemongrass, green onion, cilantro, fish sauce, garlic, oil, sugar and pepper. Pulse to combine. Add the meat and pulse to combine but don’t overdo. Make meatballs, about 1 heaping tablespoonful each and place them on a cookie sheet that has side. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours so the flavors can blend. While they are chilling make the dipping sauce.

 

Dipping sauce

Place the minced lemongrass in a bowl. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, cilantro, carrot, sugar, and chile and whisk to combine. Set the mixture aside.

 

In a skillet heat the oil. Add the meatballs and cook, browning on all sides until cooked throughout, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and place on a serving platter along with the lettuce leaves and cucumber. Place the meat balls in a lettuce leaf with cucumbers and drizzle the sauce over the top. Serves 8 to 12 as appetizers

 

Submitted by Candice Morant source unknown (modified)

LEMONGRASS STIR FRY

 

2 large stalks of fresh lemongrass, tender inner white bulb only, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 large shallots, thinly sliced

1 pound cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (4 cups)

12 asparagus spears cut into 1-inch lengths

1/2 cup shredded carrots (about 2 medium)

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

3 tablespoons soy sauce

Freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup chopped basil

1 cup mung bean sprouts

Rice, for serving

 

In a mini food processor, finely chop the lemongrass.  In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the lemongrass and shallots and stir fry the shallots are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower, asparagus, carrots and red bell pepper along with 1/2 cup of the water; cover and cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk, soy sauce and the remaining 1/4 cup of water, whisk to combine and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and season with pepper. Stir in the basil and bean sprouts. Transfer the stir-fried vegetables to bowls and serve with rice.

 

From a recipe by Marcia Kiesel source unknown, modified

 

SPICY THAI SOUP

 

4 lemongrass stalks, bottom two-thirds of tender inner bulbs only, thinly sliced

5-1/4 cloves garlic, chopped

1-1/4 (4 inch) pieces fresh ginger root, chopped

5-1/3 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

3-1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into chunks

1 pound fresh white mushrooms, quartered

2-3/4 teaspoons red curry paste

1/4 cup fish sauce

2-3/4 (14 ounce) cans coconut milk

1-1/4 red onion, sliced

5/8 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

2-3/4 lime, cut into wedges, for serving

1-1/4 fresh jalapeno pepper, sliced into rings

 

Stir lemon grass, garlic, and ginger together in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Strain chicken broth and set aside. Discard lemon grass, garlic, and ginger.

Heat vegetable oil in a large soup pot over medium heat; Stir in chicken; cook and stir for 5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in red curry paste, fish sauce, and lime juice until combined. Stir in chicken broth and coconut milk; return to a simmer and cook on low for 15 to 20 minutes. Skim off any excess oil and fat that rises to the top and discard. Stir red onion into the chicken mixture; cook and stir until onion softens, about 5 minutes. move from heat and add about 1/2 the cilantro. Serve with plates of cilantro, lime wedges, and fresh sliced jalapenos. Serves 8.

 

Modified from about.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: