Lemon Grass is a tall perennial grass grown in South East Asia that is widely used in Asia food; it has the scent of lemon but not the tartness. Although it is a perennial grass in the subtopics you will find that in the cooler climates it will die back in the winter and return as the weather warms up. If frosts are a problem in your area then Lemon Grass will do just as well in a pot.
Plant in free draining position where it get the maximum of sunshine, it likes a rich soil so add compost when you plant. It grows to over 1 m tall so give it some room, protect from the wind as it can make the foliage brown off. Use a general fertiliser every couple of weeks, apply with a watering can.
Lemon grass is necessary ingredient in many Asia recipes, releasing its fragrance when bruised or chopped. The useable part for cooking is the light green/white swollen stems at the base of the stalk. Prepare these stems by removing the green tips and any dried outer layers; it’s the firm tender centre that you want to use. You can either cut the bulb in to thin strips or rounds for cooking.
It also makes a refreshing tea hot or cold. Steep strips of lemon grass in hot water for a few mins, drink it hot or leave it to cool add ice for a refreshing summer drink. The green leaves are not wasted though, when dried they can be added to citrus based potpourris.
Lemon Grass Fish Marinade
3 stalks of Lemongrass 4 cloves of garlic 4 shallots ½ cup seeded and sliced Chilli – to suit your own taste 2 tablespoons fish sauce A couple of grinds of black pepper
• Cut the lemon grass, cut into thin strips • Combine all ingredients in a food processor or stick blender, combine to form a paste. • Score lightly the prepared fish, rub mixture over the surface, if you are using a whole fish use the marinade inside as well. • Cover and leave to marinate for 1- 2 hours in the fridge. • Grill, BBQ or bake.