I bought a few too many stalks of lemongrass at our local Super H-mart this week. Since I was using so much lemongrass in different recipes this week, I decided to process it into a paste and put it in a jar. I noticed that it’ll last roughly 3 days, sealed in a jar in the fridge until it starts turning brown. It’s been three days as of now, and although getting darker in color it is still usable, although I wouldn’t recommend saving it any long than 3 days. Just buy as much lemongrass as you need to use, since fresh is better.
I used my lemongrass paste in a pork meatball mixture, and it was exactly what my recipe needed to give it an authentic flavor for my bun cha (Vietnamese meatball and noodle salad) and banh mi sandwiches.
Since lemongrass can look a little daunting for the first time user, as it had been for me, here is how I did it.
These are what the stalks look like. Look for light green ones, that are slightly soft near the bulbs. The tops of them will be dried out but that’s ok, since you won’t be processing the top section.
Peel the outer layers until you can’t peel anymore off. Discard the outer layers.
Cut roughly 2 inches of the bottom off each stalk and discard.
Using a sharp knife, chop the lemongrass stalks until it becomes too fibrous and stringy to cut anymore at the top.
Keep the top stalks in a freezer safe bag, and store in the freezer for using in curries, soups or stews. Drop them into your dishes to infuse it with lemongrass flavor, then discard when ready to serve your dish, as this part is inedible.
Put all the chopped lemongrass in a blender, or in my case the magic bullet. Add enough water in order to process into a paste. You will need to add a few tablespoons of water every now and then to gain the right consistency of a paste.
This is what the end product looks like. I stored the paste in a mason jar and kept it in the fridge for 3 days. The water will separate as it sits, so I just shake the jar or stir with a spoon before using. The ratio of freshly chopped lemongrass to processed lemongrass paste is 1:1.
I’ll be posting the recipes I used lemongrass paste for within the next week or so, so stay tuned!