Southeast Asian Pesto

By HalfPint
July 2, 2013
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Southeast Asian Pesto

Author Notes: I got the blueprint of this recipe from a comment in a food blog about using up an abundance of Thai basil. The flavor remind me of the flavors in a green papaya salad: spicy, tangy and salty. I usually toss it with noodles (rice, soba, wheat, etc.), julienned cucumbers, and some grilled meat or fried tofu. If you are not a fan of cilantro, feel free to substitute with parsley or chervil. HalfPint

Makes: 2 cups

  • 1/2 cup thai basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice, more to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons good quality fish sauce or soy sauce
  • 1-2 small fresh chili (~1-2 tsp chopped), or to taste
  • 1-2 large pinches of sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, optional
  • neutral cooking oil
  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulverize. Use the soy sauce if you want a vegetarian/vegan pesto. Slowly drip in oil until you get a paste. The pesto should be somewhat smooth with no big chunks. Taste and adjust to your preference. I usually like a balance of salty/tart/sweet with a little hit of heat.
  2. Use immediately or freeze for later use.
  3. Delicious as a dressing in a noodle salad bowl or as a condiment for fish, chicken, and meat.

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