Signature Ingredients

Authentic flavors are the very soul of Lemon Grass Kitchen. Scroll down and be inspired.

Rice Noodles

“If you opt for a gluten-free noodle, this is certainly a good option.”
— Mai

Tender rice noodles form the basis of Lemon Grass Kitchen’s pad thai dishes. Made from rice flour, they’re traditionally made by first forming and steaming thin sheets and then cutting them into long strands of varying widths. These days, most common rice noodles — whether fresh or dried — are made by machines. Rice noodles are essential, particularly in Southeast Asian cuisines. You’ve also enjoyed them in pad si ew or pad kee mao and also in the many noodles soups such as phở and hu tieu.

Tamarind

“When ripe, the soft, brown flesh is similar to that of raisins, but very sour.”
— Mai

Before it finds its way into international cuisines, tamarind begins as a tree fruit grown in tropical and subtropical regions. The fruit’s pulp is intensely sour when it’s green and unripe, and is typically used to flavor soups and braised dishes. However, ripe tamarinds are most commonly used; its soft flesh has a more round and mellow flavor. Sold in specialty markets as ripe whole pods, “bricks”, or liquid concentrates, this fruit is an essential ingredient in Asian, Mexican, Indian, and African cooking. It’s used to add tanginess and acidity to curries, stews, soups, salad dressings, desserts, and beverages.

Lemongrass

“Each time you bite into lemongrass, you'll get a refreshing burst of citrusy flavor!”
— Mai

As part of our name, lemongrass holds a special place in our hearts — and in the hearts of chefs around the world. This woody, fibrous plant is wonderful in the kitchen in so many ways. Its citrusy flavor is used to perfume soups, meats, stir-fries, and salads. The Thai people know it as takrai, while the Vietnamese call it xa. When used to infuse a soup, the stalk is bruised and added, whereas in stir-fries, it’s finely chopped. Because of its distinctive flavor and versatility, it’s no wonder that lemongrass is so popular across Asia.

Cilantro

“The most aromatic cilantro comes from small-stemmed plants with small, frilly fronds.”
— Mai

Cilantro, also known as coriander, is so loved around the world, it might be the most popular herb on the planet. The entire plant can be used, including its seeds, leaves, stems, and roots. Cilantro adds unique citrusy and floral notes to foods, enhancing every dish it touches. Curries, soups, stir-fries, salads, as well as fresh chutneys and salsas, greatly benefit from its refreshing qualities.

Thai Basil

“Also known as Asian basil, this is a key ingredient in Thai curries and stir-fries.”
— Mai

Thai basil, or Asian basil, is not only a beautiful flowering plant, but a staple herb in Asian cuisine. Vibrant green leaves have serrated edges on a purple stem, making fresh cut sprigs a pretty — and edible — plate adornment. Thai basil has a warm, spiced licorice flavor that finds its way into everything from salads to soups (phở) to stir-fries to curries. A typical Thai basil stir-fry begins with a blazing hot pan with chillies, garlic, and a fistful of Asian basil leaves.

Fish Sauce

“Fish sauce is the quintessential seasoning that gives Southeast Asian dishes their distinctive savory flavor.”
— Mai

Called nam pla in Thai, and nước mắm in Vietnamese, fish sauce is the ubiquitous seasoning in the Southeast Asian kitchen and is used much like soy sauce. Made from anchovies and salt that have been fermented (traditionally in earthenware vats in the sun for several months) and bottle-aged, fish sauce is used to make dipping sauces and to season food. It’s what gives Southeast Asian dishes their distinctive savory taste — that mouthwatering, umami flavor we crave. Add a sprinkle or two to your stir-fries or salad dressings for a flavor explosion!

Hoisin Sauce

“I often add onion, ginger, and garlic puree to hoisin for a quick sauce, glaze or marinade.”
— Mai

Hoisin sauce is staple in the Chinese kitchen but it’s used extensively throughout Asia. A thick, dark brown condiment similar in texture to ketchup, it’s made from soybeans, including vinegar, red chillies, garlic, Chinese five spice, sugar, and other flavoring ingredients depending on the regional source. It’s primarily used as a dipping sauce or a glaze for meats such as chicken and duck (as in Peking duck with pancake) and as garnish in phở noodle soup. Vietnamese restaurants also use hoisin as a base for the hoisin-peanut dipping sauce served with goi cuon or rice paper wrapped salad rolls.

Ginger

“Aside from its health benefits, ginger is one of the world's most versatile seasonings.”
— Mai

Ginger has that spicy, tangy taste that’s perfect for dishes across Asia, making it an indispensable resource for cooks. The root of the ginger plant is used minced, sliced, pureed, and powdered. Though often seen as a pickled garnish, ginger’s specialty in cooking is to impart a warm spiciness; it always feels fresh and forward and is often the leading flavor in regional cuisine. Now farmed in a variety of regions, ginger used to grow wild in tropical climates and is thought to have originated in the Indian subcontinent.

Gochujang

“Gochujang imparts savoriness and umami to food and can be quite spicy, depending on the brand.”
— Mai

An essential ingredient in the Korean kitchen, gochujang is a red pepper paste made from fermented soybean and glutinous rice pastes along with chili powder and salt. It imparts savoriness and umami to food and can be quite spicy depending on the brand. Gochujang can be used in marinades for meat dishes like Korean barbecue beef or chicken, stirred into dipping sauces, or used to punch up flavor and body in soups and stews. The next time you grill anything with an Asian flair, try adding a little dab of this in your marinade!