I’ve made many an Asian style ‘pesto’ before with coriander, but I reckon this one beats all others hands-down. I use the term ‘pesto’ very loosely – I’m describing a thick salsa/sauce made with fresh herbs, citrus juice, nuts and olive oil. In this instance I’ve used coriander as my herb, cashews and my nut and lime juice as my citrus. I think the rule with an Asian-style ‘pesto’ is to ensure you don’t skip out on any of the lovely flavours that give this cuisine its zing – spring onion, garlic, lemongrass and chilli in this case. Oof, the powerful flavour will knock you sideways – in a good way. Oh, that lemongrass!
I served this sauce tonight with fried tofu marinaded with ginger, soy sauce, coriander & peanut butter among other things, plus some simple steamed veg. Fried tofu is a very worthy partner for this sauce. I purposely have made this sauce quite thick as I didn’t want to use too much oil (bikini diet!). If you prefer to stir it through some noodles I’d suggest loosening with extra oil and/or a little water, but if you’d rather it as a chunky dip/salsa then this will be perfect for you.
You will need:
Handful fresh coriander
3 spring onions, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 red chilli, de seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
30g cashews, toasted in a dry frying pan and ground in a mortar and pestle
1 lemongrass stalk, outer woody stalks removed and very finely chopped
4 tbspns olive oil (plus more, if desired)
Salt, to taste
Just blend all the ingredients into a paste. Add salt to taste and extra oil or a little water to loosen if preferred.