Grilled Shrimp Lemongrass Skewers

Grilled Shrimp Lemongrass Skewers by

Roots, rhizomes, stalks, bark, stems, leaves, seeds, fruits, flowers – any part of a plant that can improve the flavor, the color, or the aroma of a dish – can be found in Southeast Asian cuisine.  And not just in the dish as an ingredient.  Fish wrapped in turmeric leaves and grilled.  Blue pea flowers to color glutinous rice.  Chicken grilled in bamboo bark.  Steaming hot rice and curry dishes served on banana leaves.  Lemongrass stalks as barbecue skewers.

what is lemon grass?

When grilled, lemongrass releases its rich, warm, citrus flavor.  Wrap a meat like shrimp around a lemongrass stalk, and you have a perfect combination found in many Southeast Asian cuisines like Thai and Indonesian.

The spices and herbs differ in each region, but with the basic pairing of shrimp and lemongrass, they are all equally delicious.  I prefer a simple version of shrimp, garlic, chili peppers, spring onion, and some basic seasonings – blended together into a thick enough paste to form around a lemongrass stalk.   For a unique citrusy flavor, you can also add in some fresh kaffir lime leaves or kaffir lime leaf powder into the paste.

Grilled Shrimp Lemongrass Skewers by

Before you mold the paste around the lemongrass, cut off the bottom tip of the stalk and make one slice along with same bulbous end to release the delicate scent of the herb’s essential oils.

If you can get hold of some banana leaves, great!  Use the leaves like you would tinfoil.  Just lay them directly on the grill before you place the shrimp lemongrass skewers on top (or completely wrap the skewers with the banana leaves).  Then grill them up for a few minutes until the edges are slightly charred.  Allow to cool for a moment before biting down on one – the harder you bite, the stronger the lemongrass flavor.

Serve with an easy homemade chili lime dip of sweet chili sauce mixed with a squeeze of lime juice, and garnished with toasted white sesame seeds.  A fun way to enjoy the start of barbecue season – Southeast Asian style!

Grilled Shrimp Lemongrass Skewers by

shop emongrass powder, galangal powder & kaffir lime leaf powder available at season with spice shop

Grilled Shrimp Lemongrass Skewers by Season with Spice
Makes 10 skewers

10 fresh lemongrass stalks - ends trimmed, and bulbous end slit open about one inch
600g shrimp - deveined and shelled
3-4 cloves garlic - peeled
2 spring onions - chopped 
1 red chili pepper (serrano pepper) – deseeded and sliced thinly
1/4 to 1/2 tsp Season with Spice's kaffir lime powder
2 tsp raw sugar or brown sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp corn flour
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
Generous dash of of Season with Spice's ground white pepper

Chili Lime Dipping Sauce:
1/3 cup sweet chili sauce
2 tbsp lime juice or calamansi lime juice
Lightly toasted white sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

1. In a food processor, blend all ingredients into a fine paste (or leave out chopped spring onion to mix in after blending). You will need to add water for the ingredients to form into a thick sticky paste, but add it slowly – one tablespoon at a time – until you reach the desired texture.
2. Once the paste is ready, rub your fingers with vegetable oil or sesame oil, and mould about two tablespoons of the shrimp mixture around each lemongrass stalk (use your fingers to form a smooth, evenly rounded shape).
3. Place the lemongrass skewers on the grill and cook each side until lightly charred.
4. Serve with a homemade sweet chili lime sauce.

- Instead of grilling, you can also cook the lemongrass skewers in your oven with the broiler setting.