The bulbous base and woody stalk of this lemon-scented grass is used in cooking, and is one of the most distinctive flavourings in the dishes of South East Asia, particularly Thai and Vietnamese.
All year round.
Look for pale lemon and green-tinged stalks that are firm and fresh. Avoid any that look dried out. Dried lemon grass is also available but is less fragrant, and should be soaked in water before use.
Crush the base of the stalk with the end of a rolling pin to release the aromatic juices; or slice, then add to Thai curries and soups. The flavour goes very well with fish, prawns and chicken recipes, and this spice can also be used to infuse sweet syrups, lemonade and cocktails (remove the lemon grass before serving).