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Mar 11, 2008 06:19 PM

Substitution for lemongrass??

I want to make a thai truffle recipe i found this weekend..but there is not one piece of lemongrass to be found ANYWHERE in my area in any shape or form. Is there anything i can substitute for this? The recipe calls for one stalk of lemongrass (the bottom 6"), which will result in amongst other ingredients, as one half cup of the thai chili paste for deserts, of which one teaspoon will actually be used in the truffle recipe.

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  1. Cooks Thesaurus says ...

    "Substitutes: lemon zest (zest from 1 lemon = 2 stalks lemon grass) OR lemon verbena OR lemon balm OR lemon leaves"

    2 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      my search for lemongrass threw at least two supermarket employees into a kerfuffle.....methinks i wouldn't have the heart to go in there looking for any of the others.

      last week i went into the same store looking for sushi ginger with the same reaction ( i eventually found it )....i'm wondering if i will be red flagged as the token "weirdo" in the area lol. . Perhaps it's my lot in life to educate the employees on ingredients :)

      1. re: im_nomad

        Yes, but the first substute is lemon zest which Sam also recommended. It gives you the portion of lemon zest to substitute for lemongrass. For your recipe it would be the zest of half a lemon. They should have lemons. It is just the yellow part on the outside of the lemon that you grate off.

        The spice section usually has dried lemon zest, but it is not as good as fresh and usually way too expensive.

      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        the recipe calls for lime zest in addition to the i'm guessing i'd just double it?

          1. Im nomad, by any chance do you have an Asian market or grocery store in your area? I've seen chopped lemongrass in the freezer section of our small Asian grocery store here in SW Florida.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Val

              IMO there is no substitution for lemongrass. Sure you'll replace the citrus-y part of it by using zest of lime or lemon but you can't substitute the taste or aroma of lemongrass.

              I second Val's suggestion - try an Asian grocery if you have one nearby.

              1. re: cee

                I agree. You can make a substitution with lemon zest but it will not be the same. It is not an equal trade out. Same for Kaffir lime leaves. There is no matching the flavors these bring to the dish. Your dish will turn out very nice without lemon grass but you would be wise to broaden your search to Asian markets. I live in a small town on the west coast of Fla. Not a mecca for specialty ingredients but I do search out small ethnic markets where I can find great ingredients that are not found in the local big box supermarkets.

                1. re: cee

                  I totally agree. Lemon zest doesn't taste like lemongrass. Adding more of it doesn't make sense to me.

                  There is almost always fresh lemongrass in an asian market.

                  I have over a hundred stalks in my freezer (from my garden) so maybe truffles are in my future as well.

                  1. re: cee

                    Sure, lemongrass has no substitute, but she needs 1 tsp out of half a cup of made-up-paste, or 1/48th of a 6 inch stalk of lemon grass; I really think in this particular instance she can probably make a substitution.

                  2. re: Val

                    no Asian market or store in my area. There is a brand of spice blends in tubes that carry a lot of other stuff , including at one time lemongrass, but it was no where to be seen there this time. Supermarkets in my area, while they often have an "ethnic" section....seem to cater alot to the meat and potatoes crowd.