Ingredient of the week: lemongrass It might seem a little odd to go from Christmas and New Year’s eating, the hams and turkeys, roast potatoes, bubble and squeak and Christmas pudding straight into lemongrass. But the leap is a simple one – everywhere at this time of year people seem to turn to Asian flavours – fresh, light, zingy, zippy dishes usual served with healthy rice or noodles.

Lemongrass is, as the name suggests, a variety of grass and is found mainly in South East Asia. Takrai, as it is known in Thailand, is used in a vast range of dishes, most commonly in curry pastes and in ‘yam’ or salads, where its use lends an ultra-fresh, citrusy note. It’s so lip-tingling it’s almost like sherbet.

Alongside these uses (check out our food blogger’s recipe using lemongrass for beef rendang, it lends itself wonderfully to desserts, particularly when you want an Asian twist – a lemongrass panna cotta, for example, or a lemongrass and coconut ice cream or perhaps a lemongrass sorbet as a palate cleanser.

It’s worth noting too – buy the fresh variety where possible. The dried stuff won’t cut the mustard. You’ll be able to find online stores selling the fresh stuff and Waitrose frequently have it in stock.

Fresh, happy cooking for the New Year.

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