Monday, June 30, 2014


Asian Pesto

Asian Pesto With Rice Noodles

Blue Ginger Circa 1999

This is an adaptation of Chef Ming Tsai's Asian Pesto that was originally published in his book Blue Ginger in 1999.
It is another one of my favorite recipes that I have been making for many years; particularly, when I visit the Asian market and get a beautiful bunch of Thai basil. 
The end result is that the pesto makes a tempting spicy flavoring for pasta dishes and much more.  I like to prepare it tossed with rice noodles. 


Thai Basil

Mint, Garlic, Limes, Chilies, Ginger and Thai Basil
Asian Pesto:
2 Serrano chilies, stemmed and seeded
8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts

2 oz. fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
1/2 cup peanut oil
3 cups fresh Thai basil leaves
1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves

Combine the chilies, garlic, ginger, peanuts, lime juice, nam pla and peanut oil in a food processor and process to a smooth puree.  Add the Thai basil and mint and puree again.  Avoid over processing because this will "cook" the basil and turn the mixture dark.  This happened the first time that I made it.  At the time, I thought it was because I was using a stainless steel blender but later I learned how to avoid the over processing method and that a food processor gives a better result.  The pesto stays vibrant in color and flavor for about one week.   This recipe makes about 2 cups of pesto.

Rice Noodles:
Soak 3 oz. of rice noodles in cold water for about 30 minutes; drain and discard water.
Place softened noodles in boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes.  Drain.  Sprinkle with a few drops of Canola oil to prevent sticking.

Rice Noodles

Rice Noodles Done

To Finish:
Toss about 1 cup of the Asian pesto with the warm rice noodles.

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