How to Prepare Lemongrass

A full breakdown on peeling, bruising, and chopping lemongrass. 

lemongrass-bunches
Photo by Greg DuPree

Lemongrass adds a unique citrusy-floral flavor to soups, stir-fries, and even beverages. If you’ve never cooked with it before, here’s how to get started. Trust us—it’s easy. You can find fresh lemongrass at Asian markets and at some well-stocked grocery stores, too. Look for firm, light green stalks with a faint lemony scent. Store in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 weeks, or stash prepped pieces in a plastic bag in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Step 1

With a sharp chef’s knife, cut off the dry end of the stalk and the skinny, papery tops.

Step 2

Make a slit down the length of the stalk with your chef’s knife.

Step 3

Peel off the tough layers, as you would peel a scallion, to get to the pale, compact inner core.

Step 4

Using a rolling pin or meat mallet, whack down the core to bruise it. This releases the oils in the stalk that provide the lemongrass flavor. If you’re making soup, you can add the whole bruised stalk; finely chop it for a stir-fry.