thai pesto?

On my way to a last-minute get-together, I swung by the store to pick up some snacks. I found a cilantro chutney and was intrigued. It sure looked like pesto, and I sure like pesto, so I bought it (along with some mini pitas). Delightful, but I was pretty damn sure I could do better. And so I have.

I refer to it as Thai because of the way the flavors play off one another. You do taste peanut and pepper and (obviously) cilantro. It’s an active flavor, if that makes sense—it keeps your tongue busy.

I wish I could give you measurements for this, but I just can’t. It’s a “some of this and some of that until it tastes good” recipe. Who knows how much cilantro’s going to be in your bunch, or how dry it’s going to be, and what kind of peppers did you score? And do you really love garlic? Add more garlic! And, like any sauce or salsa, it’ll taste a little different after a night in the fridge. So here’s a list of ingredients with some guidelines:

cilantro: a big bunch or two small ones
white or yellow onion: a handful
garlic: a clove or two
green mild peppers (Anaheim or jalapeno): a handful
peanuts: a handful
olive oil: a couple of tablespoons
lime juice: one lime’s worth
salt, cayenne, nutritional yeast to taste

Now whiz it up with a stick blender or food processor. Perfect for bread-dippin’ or tossed with some cold rice noodles and julienned carrots, zucchini, scallion.

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