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Comparing The Two Main Varieties Of Lemongrass - Colorful Plates
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Comparing The Two Main Varieties Of Lemongrass

Lemongrass has a big family. There are over fifty different species grown throughout the world, but luckily, you only need to get acquainted with two varieties to get an understanding of what they’re all about. West Indian lemongrass and East Indian lemongrass are two sides of the same coin, but they have a few differences that can influence your final product. Read along and get ready to pucker up.

West Indian Lemongrass

This variety is so influential that it’s generally known as simply “lemongrass.” It exhibits all the common lemongrass qualities we know and love, such as a long green steam with a bulb at one end, a fragrant citrusy aroma, and a complex flavor profile that balances mint and lemon notes without a bitter finish. This is a great standby variety because of its approachable flavor and multiple uses; you can use fresh leaves for cooking or dried ones to spruce up tea!

East Indian Lemongrass (Malabar)

To some, this is the most flavorful variety of lemongrass in the world. Alternatively known as Malabar or Cochin lemongrass, East Indian lemongrass has the highest citral content of any variety, resulting in a powerfully citric punch. Additionally, this variety has lingering ginger notes that make for an interesting contrast of cool/warm flavors. As you’d expect, this mighty flavor profile is best used in smaller doses, so consider adding it to stronger cocktails or spicy Asian dishes.  

  • Flavor: Lemony with underlying ginger notes
  • Use For: Cocktails