Noodle pesto!! This is definitely one of the most exciting things I have come across in a while. This recipe is my invention, but was inspired by Niki Segnit’s coriander pesto concept in the wonderful Flavour Thesaurus, under the paragraph on coriander/peanut. The Flavour Thesaurus is a truly wonderful book and I highly recommend it as gifts for creative foodie people.
This Vietnamese style pesto has the same wonderful consistency and richness of regular pesto, but with a flavour profile that works wonderfully with noodles. It would also be a good way of using up fresh coriander – it always seems to come in bunches that are just impossible to get through before they go soggy and soapy. Just make a load of pesto and freeze it.
When cold this pesto will be a little more solid than regular pesto because the coconut oil solidifies, but don’t fret - it will absolutely behave like pesto in all its wondrous ways once you introduce it to some hot noodles.
Makes enough for 2-4 portions of noodles (depending on how you like your noodle:pesto ratio)
1 handful roasted salted peanuts
2 cm lump fresh ginger, roughly chopped
1 medium sized fresh red chilli, roughly chopped – don’t remove the seeds
1 handful fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
2 handfuls fresh coriander, roughly chopped (pick out particularly woody bits of stem)
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted.
You could, I suppose, just put everything but the oil in a food processor, blitz to pesto consistency and then add the oil. But here is how I made mine:
Pound the peanuts in a mortar and pestle until they form a coarse crumb, then add the chilli and ginger and pound to a dry-ish paste. Add this to a large bowl with the herbs and blitz a bit with an immersion blender. Add 2 tbsp of oil and blitz again until it looks more or less like pesto. Stir in the rest of the oil, taste and see if it needs extra salt (depending on how salty the peanuts were). You might want to add a bit more oil too.
What I then did with it
I boiled up some soba noodles with frozen peas, and stirred in some of the noodle pesto, and a splash of lime juice. This was then mixed into a salad with quorn fake chicken pieces, shredded lettuce, some peanuts, chopped mint and coriander. And it was delicious.