Use of citronella in Asian cuisine

As you already know, at the luxury hotel in Alicante Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, we never get tired of discovering the varied Asian cuisine. Today we continue our trip around the continent to tell you about one of it most popular ingredients: citronella.

Citronella or lemongrass is one of those plants that are eaten from time immemorial both for its medicinal properties and as a kitchen essential. It is one of the basic ingredients of Asian cuisine. It is a stiff grass native to India, is widely used as an herb in Vietnamese and Thai cuisine, where the dishes seasoned with citronella get a mild citrus flavour.

This type of grass is very easy to grow, since once that is planted, it grows back again year after year. Citronella looks very similar to a leek. In order to make the most of its bulb, we have to get rid of the outer layers, which are pretty hard, before getting to the inner stalk. Regarding its leaves, they are used for infusions and to flavour some fish recipes (although we get rid of them before serving the food).

In order to extract the flavour of citronella and the scent of its bulb, it´s recommended to squash it a little bit, as a clove of garlic, before adding it to other ingredients.

Since its flavour is a little bit spicy, it must be added in small quantities to soups, stews, salads and sauces. Vietnamese cuisine usually mixes citronella with ginger, garlic, chilli and coriander, and it´s also very used to marinate meats.

Besides traditional medicine and cuisine, lemongrass or citronella is finding its own place in cocktails. It is used to dress gin tonics, mojitos and different cocktails.

Definitely, citronella is a very versatile ingredient, that will add an exotic touch to any recipe.

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