Lemongrass Ice Cream

I mentioned earlier that some of the best food I’ve ever eaten was in Vietnam, primarily in stalls in back alleys and nondescript restaurants.  It literally makes me want to cry when I hear of people going to Vietnam and not eating the street food (worried about your stomach?  Try grapefruit seed extract).  Because the food at all the restaurants catering to tourists was less than inspiring.

There was, however, one notable exception: Fanny’s Ice Cream.  In the middle of the chaos of Hanoi and Saigon, Fanny’s always provided a much-needed break from the hawkers, motorbikes, heat and humidity.  Oh, and they had some pretty great ice cream too.

In addition to standbys like chocolate and strawberry, they also had a number of Asian-inspired flavors such as young rice, ginger and star anise.  I don’t remember whether lemongrass ice cream was on the menu or not, but I can tell you that it’s going to become a new favorite over on this side of the Pacific.

The lemongrass is bright and refreshing, a perfect palate cleanser.  Best of all?  It’s not a custard-based ice cream, so I don’t have to worry about finding a use for leftover egg whites.  Cornstarch does double duty by thickening the base and preventing ice crystals from forming.  If you’re a lemongrass fan you’re definitely going to want to dust off those ice cream makers and give this one a shot.


Lemongrass Ice Cream

Yield: 6 servings


* 2 cups whole milk
* 1-1/2 cups chopped lemongrass (remove the dry, woody sections from the top of the stalks)
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 2-1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
* 1 cup half-and-half


Combine the whole milk, lemongrass, and sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and half-and-half until smooth. Add to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and can coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the lemongrass. Cover and chill at least 3-4 hours, or up to 24 hours.

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7 Responses to “Lemongrass Ice Cream”

  1. #
    Eileen — June 25, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    What a great idea! I bet this would be perfect after a big dish of panang tofu and jasmine rice. :)


  2. #
    Riley — June 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    This is a fantastic idea. It looks yummy!


    • CATE — June 27th, 2012 @ 4:58 am

      Thanks Riley :)


  3. #
    Lynda Bay — June 27, 2012 at 6:05 am

    Wow! Looks fabulous. :) Asian street foods would always be great. Been to Thailand, Philippines, Korea and Brunei…and they got lots of street foods.. Sweet! Nice post by the way..


    • CATE — June 27th, 2012 @ 6:12 am

      Thanks Lynda! Sounds like you have an impressive travel resume :) I would love love love to go to all of those places, but sadly most dishes in those countries will have either oyster sauce (gluten) or soy sauce (gluten). One of the things I loved about Vietnam is they mostly just used fish sauce, which tends to not have any wheat added to it.

      Maybe in the future they'll have a pill that Celiacs can take so that we can enjoy all the food too! Thanks for the comment :)


  4. #
    Debs @ The Spanish Wok — June 27, 2012 at 6:24 am

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


    • CATE — June 27th, 2012 @ 8:05 am

      Ack! Debs- so sorry. I somehow accidentally removed your comment and can't figure out how to undo it :( Anyways, hope you have a speedy recovery and can travel again soon! And thanks for the heads up on the soup event… I'll have to check it out.


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