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Indian Pesto Recipe
The sheer versatility of this particular recipe knows no bounds. I have used it with pasta and noodles, on wraps and quesadillas, as a dip or as a topping for bread, fish, chicken, vegetables, paneer, kebabs… and even in place of a sauce on homemade pizza! This delicious little recipe seems to work effortlessly crossing all international culinary borders.
Pesto is traditionally from Italy and there are lots of variations. My version definitely has an Indian touch but I encourage you to get creative and add your own personal twist to the recipe.
Generally, when I am using the pesto for Indian or Asian dishes, I add coconut milk to the recipe and don't add any cheese. For non-Indian/non-Asian recipes, I simply add lemon or lime juice along with the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
1 cup of fresh basil leaves (any variety will work)
1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves (tender stems are fine)
2 large cloves of garlic
½” piece of ginger, peeled
2-3 small Thai green chilies, to taste
¼ cup nuts (you can use walnuts, cashew, pistachios, almonds, pine nuts or any combination)
salt & pepper, to taste
½ cup coconut milk (thick variety, great for Asian dishes) OR juice of ½ lime or lemon
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (great for non-Asian dishes)
¼ cup good extra virgin olive oil
Using a blender or food processor, gently pulse all of the ingredients together until blended. You can adjust the pesto as needed to suit a particular recipe. The pesto will last for a few days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Indian Pesto Noodles:
I love this particular dish for so many different reasons, it’s not only delicious but it’s also very easy to prepare. It’s such a versatile recipe; you could add almost any type of meat or seafood (such as shrimp, scallops, crabs…) of your choice. You could also add your favorite vegetables with tofu to make it completely vegetarian. These noodles are always a hit with the kids and the adults as well.
There are a wide variety of noodles that you could use for this dish (egg noodles, rice noodles, wheat noodles or even angel hair pasta). You could use thin noodles, thick noodles, flat noodles… the possibilities are endless! I am providing my favorite version of this dish but feel free to adapt it using your favorite ingredients.
INDIAN STYLE “PESTO” NOODLES WITH CHICKEN
1 package of dried Chinese egg noodles (5-6 ozs)
1 lb of chicken breast (boneless & skinless), cut into thin strips
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
½+ cup Indian Pesto
1 cup of brown mushrooms, sliced
1 cup of carrots, julienned
1 cup of zucchini, julienned
1 cup of baby corn
1 cup of scallions, finely chopped
½ cup of peas
1 tsp crushed red pepper (to taste)
salt to taste
oil, vegetable or canola
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
Cook the noodles as directed on the package and set aside until needed.
In a large wok on medium high heat, add 2 tbsp of the oil and quickly stir fry the chicken until golden brown. Remove and set aside until needed.
Using the same wok, (add a tbsp of oil if needed) stir fry the shallots along with the ginger and garlic. Add the crushed red pepper and salt. Add the carrots, peas and the baby corn. Mix well to combine and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Then add the mushrooms, zucchini, peanuts and scallions. Stir-fry for a few more minutes and add the pesto sauce. Add the cooked noodles and stir well to combine all of the ingredients. Garnish with the cilantro leaves and serve.
Add your favorite combination of vegetables such as bell peppers in all their lovely colors (red, green, yellow and orange) for great taste and crunch. You could also add water chestnuts, snow peas, Chinese cabbage, bok choy…
Content copyright © 2014 by Sadhana Ginde. All rights reserved.
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