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Lemongrass gives dishes a lemony fragrance, inducing a mouth-watering sensation in anticipation of the first taste. Crush or slice the stalk to release the flavor and fragrance to the dishes.

lemongrass (sereh)

Other Names

  • Cymbopogon citratus (scientific name)
  • Sereh (Indonesian)
  • Serai (Indonesian, Malay)
  • Dakrai or takrai (Thai)

What is Lemongrass?

Lemongrass is a perennial grass that grows in tropical climates. It is an aromatic shrub-like herb that resembles a green onion, with a bulbous bottom but has a woody, tough stalk. It is native to the tropical regions of Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The herb is popular in many Asian cuisines and adds an intriguing flavor to both sweet and savory foods and beverages.

What Does Lemongrass Taste Like?

Lemongrass is known for its fragrant leaves and stalks. The tender, white core of the stalk is particularly desired for its distinct citrus flavor and aroma.

It is a popular misconception that lemongrass must taste very similar to lemon. However, it has a flavor profile of its own. The flavor and aroma of this citrusy herb is a unique blend of sweet lemon with the brightness of mint. The flavor is quite light and does not overpower other flavors in a dish.

Where to Buy?

Look for fresh lemongrass at your local grocery store or Asian market. If you cannot find it with the fresh produce, check the freezer section for lemongrass stalks sold in frozen packets.

How to Choose

Whenever possible, try to get fresh lemongrass for recipes. Choose big fat lemongrass stalks that are firm, smell fragrant, and look fresh. Look for tight bulbs and pale to bright green stems and tops. The tops may be somewhat dry, but avoid any that appear overly dried out, brown, or yellow.


Lemongrasses will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. Wrap untrimmed stalks tightly in a plastic wrap. You can also store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Cut off the top of the stalks and outer leaves and place them in a ziplock bag or airtight container.

You can store whole stalks, or you can even slice, mince, or puree into a paste to keep frozen and have at the ready. Just make sure to thaw before using it. Another thing you should aware of, the freezer will soften lemongrass a little and the aroma might not be as strong as the fresh ones, but they will still provide that citrusy pop your are looking for.

How to Prepare Lemongrass

lemongrass (sereh)
  1. Trim off the spiky tops (the upper third) and the bottom of the stalk.
  2. Peel away the tough outer leaves until you reach the tender, pale inner core. The core is the part that is less fibrous and where the flavor and aroma are concentrated.
  3. Crush the stalks with the side of a knife to release their aromatic oils.
  4. Finely chop or mince lemongrass if the recipes say so. Stop slicing when you have cut two-thirds of the way up the stalk, or when it is no longer yellow and fleshy.

Recipes with Lemongrass

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