Origin and History

Lemongrass, a long lemon scented grass, is popular for flavouring curries and soups in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. Lemongrass grows throughout tropical Asia and was used by the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians as a medicine and as a cosmetic. Its popularity in Asia would have something to do with the fact that lemons are not found growing readily in the tropics, so this has become another source of the tangy taste of lemon that is highly sought after in practically every cuisine.


Lemongrass lends its own special character to many Asian dishes, and is well worth considering as an addition to steamed seafood and poultry dishes as well as putting it in marinades for pork and whole fish barbecued in foil. Only the pale lower portion of the stem, with the tough outer layers peeled away, is used for cooking. If lemongrass is not available, two or three strips of thinly peeled lemon zest can be used as a substitute. The citral content in lemongrass is quite robust, so it can withstand long cooking and its essence will not diminish too quickly.

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