37 deliciously aromatic South East Asian Lemongrass Recipes, from chicken recipes to soups and desserts, that are Easy 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 uplift dishes, making them tangy and aromatic. This can't quite be replicated with rice vinegar, lime or lemon juice. (Trust me, I've tried!)
Goes well with...
How to Use
Lemongrass is a very fibrous plant.
Hence, when using lemongrass, 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).
How to Store
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.)
Alternatively, lemongrass also freezes well.
You don't have to do anything special before freezing. However, you can use a food processor to make it into lemongrass paste first if you wish.
Note: If you can't get fresh lemongrass, there are also lemongrass paste, dried and powdered versions. However, they aren't as fragrant.
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
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 in Slow Cooker
Note: Lemongrass is also a key ingredient in 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 1.
If you don't happen to have fresh lemongrass stalks, another delicious South East Asian chicken recipe with tangy flavors is sticky fish sauce chicken wings.
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.
Meat on Sticks
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 flavors 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 serve with 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 1 of my favorite lemongrass recipes!
Note: Many lemongrass recipes are curries as they add citrus notes to cut into the heavy coconut flavour.
Noodles & Rice
Instant Pot Noodles
Spiced Vegetable Stew
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!
Vegetarian & Vegan
I'm always trying to include more 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!
What are some of your favorite Asian lemongrass recipes? Do tag me on social media or leave a comment below if you try any of these!