Michigan Lemongrass

I have been using Lemongrass for years. It imparts an complex citrus flavor to soups, curries, and meat dishes. It comes in the market as a long fibrous grass full stalk more than a foot long, or sold in the fresh herb section with the bottom root end. Most recipes call for using the bottom part of the lemongrass stalks, but when I went to The Spice Merchants in Kerry Town, they were selling the green grassy tops in dried form for marinades, and teas. As best as I can tell, lemon grass is not eaten, but use like an infused herb like say bay leaf.

Emily has become a big fan of chewing on the fresh intense lemon flavored grasses. When I starter thinking about eating more locally, I thought lemongrass, a plant from India, and use in my favorite Thai Coconut soup was out. But you never know what can be grown in Michigan until you try. So I bought a few lemon grass plant at the farmers market, and grew them last season. It is a tropical plant, and would have done better in a green house, but I managed to get a good crop. The stalks were not as thick as what you see in the store, but they still worked well in soups.

Here a link on where you can get the seed. I got my plant at the Ann Arbor, Michigan Farmers Market which was a lucky find.


Thai Coconut Soup: serves 4-6


2 Cans of Coconut Milk
2 Cups of chicken stock
2 five inch stalks from the bottom of the lemon grass, brushed,
1 pound of chicken breast, small strips
1/4 fresh shiitake mushrooms sliced into strips
2 inch piece of ginger (or Galangal) slice thin
5 kefer Lime Leaves
Juice of 6 limes
6 tablespoons of fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Thai curry paste
garnish with cilantro

1 1/2 cups of white jasmine rice (cooked)


Add the chicken stock, one can of coconut milk, the ginger or galangal, and the lemongrass to a pot. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain out the lemon grass and the ginger/galangal. Add the other can of coconut milk, the chicken, fish sauce, lime leaves, and mushrooms. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Crush the chili paste with some of the soup liquid to make a thin paste and stir into the soup. Add the lime juice and taste. Adjust the soup with more lime, chili paste or fish taste as desired.


Place a scoop of rice in a bowl, ladle soup over the rice and garnish with cilantro leaves.


4 responses to “Michigan Lemongrass

  1. I have never seen lemon grass. Can I get it in California do you think? Do I just grow it in my herb garden next to my basil and oregano? I will check with my local garden stores tomorrow. looks great. nice blog!

  2. Nadiaqh

    Here is a link for seeds and plants to order. And you can probably grow it much easiest in Cali than in Michigan.


    Lemongrass grows pretty tall about 2 feet, which is big for an herb, so plant to give it some room.


  3. Did you find the plants recently in Ann Arbor? I’d like to check the market at Kerrytown next Saturday.

    • I saw the person selling lemongrass at the market on saturday, and I figure she will have some for a few more weeks. But I do suggest you get it while it last, because I tried to get more last year and they were sold out.

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