Tanglad / Lemongrass


Although I have eaten tanglad (lemongrass) stuffed in lechons or grilled chickens my entire tanglad2life, the turning point for me as a cook to take notice of this incredible herb was during our honeymoon many, many moons ago spent at a spectacular hotel in Bali. One of the dishes we ordered at a lunch was a stunningly delicious, nearly clear tomato consommé that was infused with the subtle citrusy flavor of lemongrass… it was a memorable bowl of soup and I have never even attempted to replicate at home as a proper consommé can be a royal pain in the rear to make… Ever since that day, I have noticed tanglad as a major flavoring ingredient in food in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and back here in the Philippines…

Tanglad or Lemongrass (Cymboporon citratus) is a fragrant grass that grows in abundant clumps just about anywhere in the tropics. It possesses a larger bulb near the base of the stalks and it tanglad3is here that the lemon or citrus flavoring is most often obtained (though we Filipinos use the entire leaf for stuffing). We used to have a huge healthy plant at home in my kitchen garden but for some reason it died last year. So I have taken to purchasing our tanglad at the markets instead. Lemongrass is used as a base for curries, soups and stews and it is also used to flavor salads, as part of marinades and as stuffing material. It can be infused into hot water for a simple herbal infusion and it now flavors desserts as well. I had no specific use for the tanglad when I bought it, but a few hours later it went into a marinade for some chicken inasal…


55 Responses

  1. I love tanglad in my inasal chicken. My American hubby can eat a whole inasal chicken by himself. The tanglad takes out the fishy taste of the chicken and infuses it with this wonderful aroma and flavor. Aaaah, inasal chicken! The best export that Bacolod has to offer.

    BTW, I studied high school and college in Bacolod. My family was a regular at the Manokan Country stretch of inasal chicken restaurants. There we ate at Nene’s restaurant who also served inasal chicken hearts, chicken butts (Yum!), wings plus trays of sisi (little oysters that contained morsels of the delicious tender meat). Aaah, those were the days.

  2. I use lemon grass every time I prepare Thai foods but seldom with my Pinoy cooking. Would sometimes add lemon grass to my sinigang or to my mussels. They’re not very popular in the Tagalog region like Bulacan where I come from. Once I went to our local market for lemon grass but couldn’t find any. Been told that they are not sold in the markets because one can easily get them from the riverbanks or some place like that. My nephew laughed when I asked him to get some for me and asked what do I need those “damo” for. BTW, do we grow galangal, another Thai spice, in the Phils? I always have to bring them from here every time I go home as they are virtually unknown to many Filipinos.

  3. MarketMan, do you have a copy of the Namit Gid Recipe Book which is a collection of a lot of Ilonggo specialties Ipancit molo, laswa, kbl (kadyos baboy langka soup) including those that use tanglad? If not I will send you one. Just email me where i can send it to you.

  4. Lemongrass is one of my favorite herbs. I learned to use it from Viets. I also love tomato consomme with tanglad! A Vietnamese taught me how to make tomato consomme before,with tanglad, fish and tofu. I think I have to try it out soon. I think you should try it too Marketman, it will be worth it! Forget about the royal pain. hehehe

  5. Maddie, where can I get a copy of the Namit Gid Recipe Book?
    Whole chicken w/ stuffed tanglad cooked in a turbo broiler is classic. My Mom also uses tanglad in making dinuguan. Yum!

  6. Many years ago, I was served ice-cold Tanglad Juice in the home of our mutual friend, “the svelte executive” ;-)

    It was really light and very refreshing. If I remember right, her instructions were to boil a bunch of Tanglad leaves in a pot of water, then add some calamansi juice and brown or muscovado sugar.

  7. @virgilio

    i understand how difficult it is to find thai ingredients locally. i do not know of any local varieties of galgangal, but maybe someone knows where to get fresh. or somebody should farm! as well as kaffir lime and manao! really makes a world of difference. lemongrass and labuyo are at least readily available.

  8. an officemate of mine always drinks tanglad tea during lunch, says it for lowers his cholesterol…he says he boils a few leaves for just a few minutes….it can be also be combined with ginger and honey, sort of a relaxing beverage…

    we have tanglad in our backyard….my uncle says the smell drives away snakes….

  9. Dodi, the first recipe above of Ms. Henson is from a man on that row of inasal vendors in Bacolod. Virgilio and anonymous Paul, Galangal grows readily in the Philippines, I have some not 6 feet from where I type this now, in my tiny kitchen garden. You can also buy it at Salcedo market sometimes from Gil Carandang. As for Kaffir lime, I have a large plant/small tree not 4 feet away from me in the same tiny garden. You can get frozen kaffir lime at Chef’s Nook in Mandaluyong and fresh kaffir lime rarely at the specialized markets. juls, I have never had an Andok’s manok so I’m not sure if it tastes like that… Maddie, no, I don’t have that cookbook, sounds great. tulip, would you happen to have a recipe for tomato consomme? Carol, I have to try that tanglad juice, sounds good, it also goes well infused into tanglad iced tea… izang, yes that tea sounds soothing…

  10. You can get lemongrass tea (premixed concentrate) in health food stores. Just add hot water, and I like to add some calamansi. On summer days, pour over lots of ice.

  11. This is a great herb and, like Virgilio, I use it when cooking Thai food (dishes I am currently having fun with!). I also like it as an infusion…healing :)

    Marketman! Thank you so much on you heads up about Gil Carandang (way back when you originally posted about him)…I was so happy to find him…galangal, also sometimes kaffir lime leaves, thai pea eggplants, curry leaves…you all the herbs you need for an awesome Thai curry without having to go to anyone else (get your lemongrass and cilantro from him too)! He rocks! Thank you so much Marketman and belated happy birthday…where would we be without you? Hungry and without galangal that’s where :)

  12. People’s Palace in Greenbelt has a Lemongrass Ice Cream. I thought it would be boring, but it’s now my favorite dessert there — so refreshing, and surprisingly rich. It goes superbly with the gingersnaps served with it.

  13. Gosh, I should go to Gil Carandang. Sounds like the guy I’m looking for. I used to have kaffir but it died..boohoo. The first time I encountered lemon grass was many years ago in our subdivision’s park. I shrieked with joy but my yaya laughed at me. In Mindanao, where she comes from, it’s so common! Just like other stuff like lemon and many herbs. My other yayas said they didn’t know that they are edible. They were made to believe by their oldies that they are not.

  14. They’re definitely great for marinating chicken for barbecue as well as for stuffing chicken. It was my brother in-law who first introduced us to using lemongrass in tinola, never thought about it, but oh what a brilliant idea! He crushes the bulb end of the tanglad and just tosses it in with the rest of the ingredients when sauteing and browning the chicken, leaves it in there while boiling and just fishes it out before serving.

  15. MM, I’ll leave a copy of the cookbook addressed to MM at the Vargas Kitchen, Salcedo Market on September 2. Christer, unfortunately this is not being sold at bookstores (yet) but someone at the Salcedo Market sells this recipe book, I thiink the stall of Analou Celdran (ilonggo kitchen, not sure about the name).

  16. i love tanglad! i use it when i dabble in Thai & Malaysian cooking. but when i was a kid, my mom used this a lot in her cooking as well esp tinola…i remember one of my faves were those shells (aninikad) that you cook with coconut milk, then add some tanglad, sooooo good! :)

  17. while tanglad has always been part of our food here in negros occidental as far as i can remember, just this week, there was a program on tv abscbn about extracting oil from lemon grass (tanglad). do u have any article about how extract the oil? and also do you have info about any specific buyers.

  18. eden, sorry, I am not aware how oils are extracted from lemongrass. But it should be a fairly common thing to do with industrial essence manufacturers as lemongrass oils scent everything from soaps to massage oils, colognes and candles, etc.

  19. Hi! Enjoyed browsing your site.

    Can you please let me know where I may purchase the Namit Gid! cookbook.

    Thank you.


  20. Isabelita, in my post on cookbooks here, go to the comments section and look for a comment by maddie who has an email address from where you can probably order a book…

  21. I am not aware of the use of tanglad but in my research project, I found out that tanglaqd has many uses aside from being eaten and combined with other dish. I also found out that it can use as a repellant for flies, mosquitos and other small insect at home.

  22. yes, that’s true! tanglad or lemongrass has so many uses.That why i had already planted lemongrass in my vacant lot.It is a main ingredient in making “pinangat” one of our native delicacies in Bicol. it is so YUMMYY mmmmm!!

  23. I found a compnaywho sells the pure lemongrass essential oil and the floral water or hydrolat or hydrosol, whateer they call it.

    The name of the Company is Gold In Grass, http://www.gigc.tk. I tried their oil, used only 1-2drops on my marinate and it really removes the odor. One day I ate at Kenny Roger’s for their inasal and realized it tasted and smelled like my prep and I asked if it had tanglad oil. They said it has but wouldn’t disclose to me their source. Long shot, i know.

    Anyway, I think they also get from the same company.

    Also tried their hydrolat on my cooking with soup like tinola. It’s great. Ang lakas ng flavor. Their oil is around P7,000 per liter (?) but I’m only using 1-2 drops. I was told it has a shelf like of only 2 years so I burn the oil to ge a good night sleep.


  24. may i know if tanglad lemon grass used to cure cancer as it has been televised via magtanong kay doc! many thanks!

  25. is eden f. golez same neighbor I had in minapasuk? i was looking for a dinuguan recipe with tanglad on it when i came to this web site. Here in Boston, Massachusetts tanglad remains a vital sahog in my cooking. You can contact me at pgimena@hotmail.com

  26. I just would like to answer elea’s question if tanglad or lemon grass (which is the name familiar to me) can be used to cure cancer. Actually, I stumbled upon MarketMan’s website when I googled “tanglad”, ‘coz my sister-in-law in Cavite has informed me that it’s the Tagalog term of lemon grass. I’ve been very interested to know more about this herb and what it looks like (sorry for my ignorance) after a friend of mine who’s sister has a cancer sent me an e-mail about the power of lemon grass. He sent this e-mail ‘coz he knows that my mom is currently afflicted with lung and brain cancer. It says in the e-mail that “A drink with as little as one gram of lemon grass contains enough citral to prompt cancer cells to commit suicide in the test tube”. “It all began when researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev discovered last year that the lemon aroma in herbs like lemon grass kills cancer cells in vitro, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.”

    I can forward the entire e-mail to you or to anyone who is interested to read it. Just e-mail me at sunniest28@yahoo.ca and type Tanglad or Lemon Grass or other appropriate phrase in the subject line.

    To MarketMan, I salute you for creating this wonderful and very informative site not only for Pinoys in Pinas but for those Pinoys around the globe as well. Mabuhay!

  27. Susan,
    As a tumor immunology researcher, I would not say that Citral from lemon grass cure cancer. While it does not harm the person to drink lemon grass tea, it would not cure the cancer patient of its cancer. The research was carried out in 2005 in a plant medical journal and there has been no further research since. I would like to add that cancer research in a test tube is a far cry from the way cancer behaves in human patients. If you read the research article, all patients that took part also under went chemo and radiation therapy which is hard to separate the efficacy between the chemo/rad therapies and the lemon grass drinks.
    I know alot of people believe in alternative medicine but we must all do our bit to look into the research and make an educated opinion.
    I think main stream news as such can be rather misleading to cancer patients who are looking for any positive ways to cure their cancer. Also we must remember that different cancers behave and react differently to treatment and each person’s immune system have different capacity to fight cancer.

  28. Where can I buy the Lemon Grass in Illinois. Ive checked at several grocery stores and health food stores in my area but there is no availability.Thanks

  29. Am conidering going into production of lemon grass and eucalptus oil for sale.Would you know of any interested buyers?Thank you

  30. Can somebody help me, what companies here in the philippines needs lemon grass as a source of raw materials for their finish products.. thanks

  31. I got an email regarding this meracle grass called ” tanglad”.It’s about foreign doctor’s findings about this medicinal plant. I been drinking medicines for my thyroid since 2004. My neck is not yet swollen until there was a time in late 2006 that I got inside bleeding due to severe cough. I cannot move my neck and I was subjected to regular aspiration to remove fluid from my thyroid glands. My doctor suggested that I should have an operation because my neck is getting bigger. No have zipper on my neck please. I beleive that I don’t have to go through that process, I prayed a lot and util someone send me the mail, I drank boied tanglad for three months. And During that 3 months I stopped taking medicines. And low and behold I was cured, I have a beautiful neck now “no zipper”. Thanks for that mail, and thanks God for being my doctor. And thanks to my Doctor who took care of me during the time that I was not tasking lemmon Grass. If you go to Sagada, it is common to drink mountain tea with lemmon gras which is soothing to your stomach. You can email me at veibzyan@yahoo.com if you want to get a copy of that mail and I can also send you my pictures. God bless everyone and enjoy taking tanglad

  32. do you think, we can make perfume out of tanglad?
    because we are trying to do that in our school, but me and my classmates do not know how to improve the scent and how to make it smoother… please, if you know the answer, just reply to me… this is my email add: christian_nueve09@yahoo.com
    thank you very much..
    and may God bless you!

  33. nyotumba and those who have tanglad at home, please inform me about how to avail of them. I need tanglad. 09072493794

  34. dear all,

    im from malaysia..
    i want to know how to be suplier my lemon to grass there..
    to company,to individual or some thing..
    we can suppl about 2000kg permonth..

    pls email me at;

  35. Hi Brian,

    We are a women’s NGO and we have a partner farmers organization that can supply lemon grass in bulk. As well, they also plant other herbal plants such as pandan and turmeric (luyang dilaw). If you are interested we can supply these to you. Their herbal plants are organically grown and the income directly benefits marginalized farmers from Rizal.

    You may email me @ heavenandsunshine@gmail.com

  36. Maddie,

    Do you know how I purchase or get a copy of the Namit Gid cookbook?I do so love collecting cookbooks.



  37. We always use this kind of herb in our soup like tinola. Bago pa sumikat ang tanglad sa luzon, matagal nang ginagamit ito ng mga Bisaya sa Visayas at Mindanao. We also use some kind of fragrant leaves called “Sa-nib”, pronounce mo ng mabilis, not like “sanib” as in possessed by spirits. It is very fragrant at nkakabuhay ng senses. We have this in our backyard, together with tanglad. Di tlaga kompleto ang sabay pag wlang tanglad at sanib…

  38. Hi Folks,

    Would like to invite all of you tanglad fans to the National Trade Fair at the SMX Convention center on March 12 to 15, 2009. Come and see our Tanglad products from the pure oil, hydrosol to personal care.

    gold in grass corporation
    lilia pelayo

  39. We always use this kind of herb in our soup like tinola. Bago pa sumikat ang tanglad sa luzon, matagal nang ginagamit ito ng mga Bisaya sa Visayas at Mindanao. We also use some kind of fragrant leaves called “Sa-nib”, pronounce mo ng mabilis, not like “sanib” as in possessed by spirits. It is very fragrant at nkakabuhay ng senses. We have this in our backyard, together with tanglad. Di tlaga kompleto ang sabay pag wlang tanglad at sanib…

  40. wla na po meng masasabi sa lemon grass sobrang maganda sya do you think, we can make perfume out of tanglad?
    because we are trying to do that in our school, but me and my classmates do not know how to improve the scent and how to make it smoother… please, if you know the answer, just reply to me… this email add teresa_bagon@yahoo.com

  41. We, in Bicol Region of the Philippines have been using lemon grass as an ingredient to refine the flavor and remove the unsavory taste of food since time immemorial. It heightens the taste of Ginataan manok, laing and other food concoctions accompanied with sea foods

  42. Hi. Im odie arevalo, pinoy and from cavite. I am looking for a regular supplier and lessons regarding lemon grass productions. regarding supplies, we need bulk supplies on a weekly basis. if anyone interested, pls txt or call me at 0917-883-8258 or email at odiearevalo@yahoo.com.

  43. Hi there, we have ample supply of lemongrass essential oil and hydrosol with 73.9% citral content. If interested, please text or call me 24/7 at 0932-4939988. Lemongrass facial soap also available.



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