37 deliciously aromatic, easy Asian Lemongrass Recipes, from lemongrass chicken recipes to soups, drinks, and even dessert. Perfect enough for busy weeknight dinners!
What is Lemongrass?
Lemongrass, also known as serai (Malay), is a common herb traditionally used in many South East Asian cuisines. It's native to the region and particularly common in Thai food and Vietnamese cuisine.
Its citrus notes has a unique flavor that uplifts dishes, making them tangy and aromatic. This can't quite be replicated with rice vinegar, lime juice, or lemon juice. (Trust me, I've tried!)
You can get it at most Asian grocery stores.
How to Use
Lemongrass is a very fibrous plant.
Hence, when using fresh lemongrass stalks we typically focus on the tender inner stem- the white part- in Asian cooking. Don't discard the tough outer layers of the stalk though- they can be added to soups, tempered in oil or used to make ginger lemongrass tea!
If adding the entire stalk to your cooking (for example, to curries, stews or soups), first bash the lemongrass with the back of a knife or a rolling pin to help release its aroma. After you've finished cooking, remove and toss it (eating lemongrass is difficult as it is too tough to chew).
When you want to cook, just cut 1-2 inches above the root end. After that, plant the root end in soil or water and it will grow you a new stalk! If you need more information, here are some tips on growing lemongrass. If, like me, you love being sustainable and growing your own food, here are recipes which use easy to grow garden produce, such as curry leaf and kaffir lime leaf.
In Asia, lemongrass is widely available at any grocery store. This is becoming the case in the UK and US too (usually it is the dried version though). If you can't find the herb at your local store, check out the closest Asian market, grocery store or order online
You can keep lemongrass in the fridge, where it stays good for quite a while (a few weeks). If you live somewhere warm, store the lemongrass in a bottle of water in a sunny spot, instead of taking up valuable fridge space. The stalk will keep growing longer, roots will appear and it won't go bad. Makes a great table display too! Make sure you change the water regularly, or it will rot.
Yes, lemongrass freezes well. You can freeze the whole stalk or mince it into a lemongrass paste before freezing, for easy use in stir fries.
Lemongrass flavor and chicken broth are a match made in heaven!
Coconut Chicken Soup
Note: If you're using juice from an actual coconut for this ginger lemongrass soup, don't toss the shell away- it makes for a fun way to serve this soup or to shape jellies!
Thai- inspired Soup (Slow Cooker)
Lemongrass is also a key ingredient in many Thai recipes. The most famous is the Thai spicy soup, tom yum goong. However, as that is such a classic dish, I figure everyone already has a go-to recipe and have not included one.
So good with white or brown rice on the side.
Expert Tip: if having Asian friends over for a meal, avoid serving chicken breasts. We usually find it dry and prefer the fatter, more flavourful dark thigh meat.
This fragrant lemongrass chicken bowl recipe is perfect for summer.
A good Banh Mi has tons of fresh herbs besides lemongrass, such as fresh min and coriander.
Meat on Sticks
I highly recommend using juicy chicken thighs as it has more fat (i.e. more flavor) and is more forgiving. You can leave it on the grill for a few minutes too long and it won't dry out. (If you do that with chicken breast, you'll be eating cardboard!)
Fried Chicken Nuggets
Roast chicken isn't the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Thai cuisine or lemongrass recipes, but I love the citrusy flavor here! (My Dad actually lived in Thailand for over 20 years so I've been there maaaaany times.)
Note: If you have made too much of this lemongrass chicken, why not shred the excess and toss with a salad to serve with white rice noodles or jasmine rice the next day? Click here for other ways to use up shredded chicken.
Vietnamese Pork Chops
Beef & Lamb
We all know Vietnamese Lemongrass chicken, but the lessser-known Vietnamese beef is really good too!
Being Singaporean, rendang is one of my favorite lemongrass recipes! Goes very well with pandan rice. For real authentic flavor, toast some shredded coconut till golden brown and add it to this hearty Malay curry.
Note: rendang is generally a dry curry so don't worry if you don't have a ton of sauce!
You can use any white fish in this recipe!
Note: Many lemongrass recipes are curries as they add citrus notes to lift the heavy coconut flavour.
Noodles & Rice
Instant Pot Noodles
The lime is a must-have ingredient for adding zing to the dish! Never omit it!
Spiced Vegetable Stew
Fried rice is best made with leftover rice as it's dryer and thus less mushy when stir-frying.
First time I read about Vietnamese Sa Te Sauce, I thought it would be similar to Singaporean Satay sauce, but it's actually very different. For one, this Vietnamese lemongrass sauce doesn't contain peanuts!
If anything, it's really more like a Sambal. It's extremely fragrant and brings a real depth to your food!
Vegetarian & Vegan
I'm always trying to include more fresh vegetables in my diet but I'll be honest, it can be hard! If you need some veggie inspiration, here are some vegan Asian recipe ideas for you!
Lemongrass is also used in a lot of curry pastes!
If adding larger pieces of lemongrass to soups, stews, or curries- bruise them first- don't forget to remove them before serving, as they are too tough to chew.
Lemongrass Ginger Tea
If you have a carbantor, add some bubbles to your fresh lemongrass tea, and it'll taste even nicer!
Lemongrass Simple Syrup
What are some of your favorite Asian lemongrass recipes? If you found my favorite recipes useful, please consider supporting it by buying me a coffee! (But no obligation, of course!)