Lemongrass is a flavorful herb that is often used in Asian cuisine. However, if you don’t have lemongrass on hand or can’t find it at your local grocery store?
There are plenty of substitutes that you can use! In this article, we will discuss 8 different substitutes for lemongrass. We’ll explain the differences and similarities between each substitute, and provide the exact ratios to use when substituting. We’ll also give examples of how each substitute can be used in cooking.
Let’s jump into it!
Substitutes For Lemongrass
- Lemon zest
- Dried lemongrass
- Lemon verbena
- Lemon balm
- Lemongrass paste (Kreung)
- Kaffir lime leaves
- Fresh coriander and ginger
- Japanese yuzu juice
Lemon zest makes an excellent substitute. While it doesn’t have the same grassy notes as lemongrass, it provides a similar zippy flavor that can brighten up any dish.
Plus, lemon zest is readily available and relatively easy to use. Simply grate the zest from one lemon using a microplane or zester and add it to your recipe.
For best results, use the zest from an organic lemon since conventional lemons are often coated with wax. And don’t forget to wash the lemon beforehand.
When a recipe calls for 2 stalks of lemongrass, you can use lemon zest from one regular-sized lemon instead.
With its bright flavor and convenience, lemon zest is the perfect substitute for lemongrass.
If you’re looking for a lemongrass substitute that will best emulate the flavor in poultry and meat dishes, dried lemongrass is your best bet. It’s important to note that while fresh lemongrass has a subtle citrus flavor, dried lemongrass is much more concentrated and intense.
A little goes a long way!
Another advantage of dried lemongrass is that it lasts much longer than its fresh counterpart. Dried lemongrass can be stored for months (if not longer), whereas fresh lemongrass starts to lose its flavor after just a few days.
Finally, dried lemongrass is very easy to use – there’s no need to chop or grind it up, you can simply add it whole to your dish. Just remember to remove it before serving!
When it comes to flavor, lemon verbena is a very close substitute for lemongrass. Both herbs have a citrusy taste that is perfect for adding a zesty kick to soups, stews, and curry dishes.
The key difference is that lemon verbena has a slightly sweeter flavor, while lemongrass has a touch of bitterness. In terms of medicinal uses, lemon verbena has been used for medicines for years. It has similar properties that make it beneficial for treating respiratory infections, digestive problems, and headaches.
When substituting lemon verbena for lemongrass, use a 1:2 ratio. For every 1 stalk of lemongrass, use 2 lemon verbena leaves instead. This will help to ensure that your dish has the desired flavor profile.
Lemon balm is best known as a key ingredient in many desserts. It is also used as an aromatic and flavoring agent in many food items. The plant is native to central Asia and the Mediterranean.
Lemon balm has a long history of being used as a medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments such as indigestion, nausea, vomiting, colic, diarrhea, headaches, colds, and fever. The plant is also known to have calming and sedative effects.
It is widely used in Southeast Asian cuisine for its citrusy flavor. Lemon balm can be used as a substitute for lemongrass in any dish where the latter is called for.
The two plants have similar flavors and aromas and can be used interchangeably in most recipes. However, lemon balm is best suited for desserts while lemongrass is more commonly used in savory dishes.
Lemongrass paste (Kreung)
Lemongrass paste, or kreung, is a combination of shallots, lemongrass, and galangal that is commonly used in Thai cooking.
While it can be used as a substitute for lemongrass in many recipes, it is also delicious on its own. The combination of these three ingredients results in a refreshing paste that is perfect for adding flavor to soups, curries, and stir-fries.
When substituting kreung for lemongrass, use a 1:1 ratio. For example, if your recipe calls for one tablespoon of chopped lemongrass, use one tablespoon of kreung instead. Keep in mind that kreung is more potent than lemongrass, so you may need to adjust the amount you use to suit your taste.
Whether you use it as a substitute or enjoy it on its own, kreung is a versatile paste that adds a delicious depth of flavor to many dishes.
Kaffir lime leaves
Kaffir lime leaves are an excellent citrusy substitution for lemongrass. They can be used whole and don’t need to be chopped like lemongrass, making them a great addition to soups and stews.
Kaffir lime leaves have a 1:1 ratio with lemongrass, so you can use them as a direct replacement. So, if a recipe calls for one stalk of lemongrass, use one Kaffir lime leaf instead.
The benefits of using kaffir lime leaves include a citrusy flavor without the need to chop the lemongrass. This makes it a great addition to soups and stews.
Fresh coriander and ginger
Fresh coriander and ginger have a pungent smell. And they also share a zesty and sweet profile with lemongrass. As a result, they can be used as a replacement in many recipes.
In addition, the use of coriander and ginger has a number of benefits.
First, they are both packed with nutrients that are beneficial for health. Second, they have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Finally, they can help to boost the immune system.
When substituting coriander and ginger for lemon grass, use 2 tsp of ginger and 2 tsp of coriander for 1 lemongrass stalk.
Japanese yuzu juice
The citrus fruit known as yuzu is a popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine. It has a tart flavor with hints of mandarin orange, and it is often used in savory dishes.
Yuzu juice can be used as a substitute for lemongrass in many recipes. When substituting yuzu juice for lemongrass, use a 1:1 ratio. So, for one lemongrass stalk use the juice from one Japanese yuzu instead.
Yuzu juice has a higher acidity level than lemongrass, which can be beneficial in certain recipes. When used judiciously, yuzu juice can be a great substitute for lemongrass in many dishes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the lemongrass substitute in soups?
If you want to get the lemongrass flavor in your soup, lemongrass paste or kreung is a great way to incorporate that. You can also use lemon verbena leaves or Kaffir lime leaves to get a similar taste.
What is the lemongrass substitute in curry?
The best way to add the lemongrass flavor to your curry is by using freshly chopped ginger and coriander. Both of these ingredients together give the curry a zesty flavor that tastes similar to lemongrass.
You can also use lemongrass paste. As this paste is made with lemongrass, you will not be able to find a difference in the taste.
There are many substitutes that you can use to get the lemongrass flavor. Some of these substitutes include kreung, Kaffir lime leaves, fresh coriander and ginger, and Japanese yuzu juice.
Each substitute has its own unique taste that can enhance the flavor of your dish. Experiment with different substitutes to find the best lemongrass substitute for your recipe.