What Is Lemongrass
With the scientific name of Cymbopogon, lemongrass is a hemophiliac plant that loves warm regions. There are several species but the best known are:
- Nardus, also called Ceylon Citronella, is used to extract the essential oil from the lemon scent. We do not use it in the kitchen because it has an unpleasant taste.
- Winterianus, or Java Citronella, is available all over the world because it is rich in oils and aromatic essences.
- Flexuosus has a strong lemon scent and survives with temperatures between 8 and 40 degrees.
- Citratus leaves smell of lemon and are also ideal for cooking.
Substitute for Lemongrass
Lemongrass is an aromatic, evergreen, and bushy plant of the Poaceae or Gramineae family. Its aerial part has erect stems that resemble bamboo canes. Its leaves, ribbon-like and bright green, have a paper consistency, have no petiole, and have sharp edges similar to knife blades. They have a bright green color and fall in the apical part.
The plant has a pleasant citrus aroma, especially lemon, that increases if you rub the leaves between your fingers. The Citronella flexus reaches up to 1.5 m in height and produces seeds. Also, the citrates species reach one meter in height and do not produce seeds.
Why Would You Want to Substitute
Although considered safe, using lemongrass oil or drinking herbal teas can lead to allergic reactions in some people. Undiluted or concentrated lemongrass oil should not be applied directly to the body as it can lead to harmful reactions. Always keep essential oils out of the reach of children.
Substitutes for Lemongrass
The lemongrass is an herb widely used in Asian cuisines such as India, Thailand, and Vietnam. It is ideal for savory dishes or sweets. This ingredient is excellent for digestive properties and preparing herbal teas.
Unfortunately, it is not always easily available unless you go to shops specializing in ethnic products. So, what is a good substitute for lemongrass? Here are some substitutes on how to replace lemongrass in your recipes in case you do not have it at home.
The first way to replace lemongrass is to use the grated zest of citrus fruit such as lemon or lime. As for the quantity, keep in mind that each lemongrass stalk corresponds approximately to the grated zest of a half lemon or a half lime of medium size.
Lemon and lime are excellent substitutes for lemongrass both in meat-based recipes. We can list chicken with coconut milk, curry, and lemongrass or chicken skewers with sesame seeds and lemongrass.
Ginger and Lemon Zest
Another suitable alternative to lemongrass is a mix of fresh ginger and grated lemon zest. To give the dish an intense but not excessively acrid aroma, you can use the grated zest of half lemon and about 2cm of grated ginger.
The slightly spicy note given by fresh ginger makes this mix perfect for flavoring soups, prepared with only vegetables, fish, shellfish, and mollusk soups.
Coriander Seeds and Lemon Zest
To replace the lemongrass, it is also possible to combine the grated lemon zest with little coriander seeds. Here, use a teaspoon of chopped coriander seeds, and the grated zest of a half lemon for each lemongrass stem stated in the recipe.
Like the mix of lemon peel and ginger, lemon peel and coriander are suitable to replace lemongrass, especially in soups. However, the aroma conferred will not be spicy as it will be sweeter and more delicate.
If you do not want to use lemongrass on your potato salad or sandwich, you can substitute it with sour mayonnaise. If you do not have mayonnaise, the best alternative is golden syrup honey. Golden syrup made of honey is ideal in this case. Is golden syrup the same as corn syrup? Maybe yes if you do not have any issue about the flavor of golden syrup USA.
You can completely replace one cup of white sugar with one cup of brown sugar or over one cup of powdered sugar. Another healthier alternative to white sugar is to use honey.
Many recipes call for alcohol. However, many people dislike using alcohol when cooking. Here, you can replace the wine with one cup of fruit juice and two teaspoons of vinegar.
1/2 teaspoon of vinegar can be substituted for one teaspoon of lemon juice. Substituting a small amount will not affect the taste of the dish. But we do not recommend replacing the dominant flavor of lemon with vinegar.
Fresh Lemon Balm Leaves
Finally, if you need to substitute lemongrass for sweet recipes, the best thing is to use chopped lemon balm leaves. The aroma of lemon balm is excellent for giving perfume and flavor to your desserts, from ice creams to sorbets.
Best Lemongrass Substitute in Cooking
Lemon leaves are the leaves of the lemon tree. They have a characteristic aroma when crushed or chopped. Depending on the variety of lemon, the shape of the leaves can be different. For example, the leaves of our lemon tree are ovoid, looking like orange leaves with a length of 2.5-9 cm.
Meanwhile, the leaves of the Thai lemon tree are spear-shaped or oblong, maybe whole or appear toothed at the edge of the leaf. Thai lemon leaves are dark green and the petiole is very wide, the leaf blade is large.
Lemongrass Substitute in Curry
For soups and curries, while they are boiling, you can add a few fresh, whole lemon leaves inside. Lemon leaves will help the dish smell and have a very special taste. It is not ideal to use chopped lemon leaves because it is difficult to get all the lemon leaves in the dish when enjoying them.
If you do not have fresh lemon leaves, you can also use dried lemon leaves instead. The dried leaves will be less fragrant. So, double the amount of dried leaves compared to fresh leaves. And to remove the lemon leaves after cooking the dish, put the leaves in a clean, thin cloth and bound them before putting them in the soup or curry pot.
Tips on Using the Replacement for Lemongrass
Lemon leaves can be fresh or dried in cooking depending on the needs of users. You can store fresh lemon leaves in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator or outside in a cool place for dried lemon leaves. In addition, old lemon leaves, people often remove the veins, petioles and shred the leaves to avoid bitterness, then dry and crush them before using them.
Benefits of Lemongrass
Antiseptic or antibacterial
Essential oil of citronella exerts an antiseptic for monoterpene nerol and geraniol. In particular, some studies have shown that essential oil has an antibacterial action against microorganisms such as Gram-positive and Gram-negative.
Analgesic and Sedative
Some researches highlight the sedative and analgesic action of the essential oil but only if it is consumed in large quantities. Taking decoctions prepared with the leaves does not generate therapeutic effects.
We also used lemongrass to treat influenza and to reduce fever thanks to citral and limonene.
The antispasmodic activity of lemongrass oil is effective against pain and abdominal swelling and with dyspepsia (digestive difficulties).
The lemongrass stem decoction can help reduce the number of bowel movements with diarrhea, in a dose-dependent manner. See more
Besides lemongrass, we have many questions about substitutes such as can you substitute olive oil for vegetable oil, canola oil, peanut oil, and grapeseed oil? Or which types of jack cheese are ideal? The spicy choice is Monterey Jack Cheese Spicy. Second, the healthy one is Monterey Jack Cheese Healthy. Last, the best one for vegans is Monterey Jack Cheese Vegetarian.