Not from a jar!
I have a massive lemongrass that I really need to use before it dies back, so I finally learnt how to harvest the stems without killing it. It's very easy, reach in and twist!
Of course I had to find something to cook with it, and the first thing I thought of was a classic Tom Yum Soup. I almost always order this at a Thai restaurant if they have a vege option, and most seem to nowadays.
I went to a different fruit shop than I usually do on the way home from work one day and found a packet of Kaffir Lime Leaves for only $1.50! (You can freeze these to use later). Lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves - two main ingredients of a tom yum.
Tom Yum Soup
Serves 4 as a large starter (or add some noodles for a main)
6 cups chicken style stock
2 stalks lemongrass, minced, and reserve the hard inedible part (here is a handy how to)*
3 kaffir lime leaves
2 hot red chillies (such as birdseye) minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1x1 inch ginger, sliced into match sticks
1 cup brocolli, chopped
1 carrot, sliced into half moons
1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
1 block of tofu, cubed (I used some seitan I had in the freezer)
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 cup fresh basil
In a large pot, bring stock, minced lemongrass, lemongrass stalks, kaffir lime leaves, chillies, garlic and ginger to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes then add brocolli, carrot, zucchini, tomatoes and tofu/seitan to the pot. Simmer until vegetables are tender.
Just before you are ready to serve, stir in the soy sauce, lime juice and basil.
*I sliced mine up thinly then put it all into my mortar and pestle and ground it up almost into a paste. A food processor would also work. You could do the lemongrass, garlic and chilli all at once if you like.
This was so good. Restaurant quality! I reckon I probably won't buy the jarred paste again :) We had it with a side of rice noodles and peanut butter.
One day if I'm rich I might buy a packet of those weird vegan prawns you can get at Asian food stores. I saw some once and they were like $15!! (I've had vegan calamari before at a restaurant - amazing. And I know calamari.)
Apparently lemongrass is freezeable. So I think I'm going to harvest most of what I have (about a million stalks) and divide the rest and replant it for next summer. I'll either freeze them as whole stalks or process the whole lot and freeze in tablespoon sized amounts like I usually do with tomato paste :)