Long long ago we owned a granite pestle and mortar, but it's one of those things that has mysteriously disappeared in one of our regular house-moves. I sometimes have visions of all the 'lost' items turning up one day, perhaps in a forgotten packing-box in the attic? Anyway, because I know we already own one, I've never bought another. Daft really, they're so cheap here, but there you go.
Well, I've never bought another... until I was seduced by this recipe that has been winking at me from the pages of Bill's Everyday Asian ever since I purchased it. The thing is, a pestle and mortar is pretty much essential for this recipe, requiring as it does the pounding up of lemongrass stalks. Fine chopping just won't do it here. So I succumbed, and a mere $8 later in Soon Lee I have a new stone pestle and mortar.
The following photo was the only one I managed to take during the preparation of this dish, as when I went to take another shot the camera batteries died so that was that until I could recharge them (I think my multiple spare sets of rechargeable batteries are hiding with the old pestle and mortar...) so you'll have to take my word for it, this dish was great.
I was about to type out the recipe for you (the book is open at my side as I write) but a quick google search reveals that the recipe was reproduced in The Telegraph last month (along with an appetising photograph) so HERE it is.
As ever the odd adjustment was made - I was unable to find any non-rotting asparagus so used a packet of sugar-snap peas instead. They worked fabulously well, but I'm keen to try the asparagus option too so I'll try to use that next time.