Coriander, ginger and basil pesto pasta with toasted cashews and peanuts

22 Sep

Coriander, ginger and basil pesto pasta with toasted cashews and peanuts coriander, ginger and basil pesto pasta with toasted cashews and peanuts

My new husband grabbed my hand and gently led me out of the Bangkok shopping centre food court whilst I whimpered. I felt like a four-year old. But my hands were printed with Henna and every salesperson, tour guide or hotel staff would stop me to ask, sweetly , ‘honey moon?’

utterly frustrated and despairingly famished, I was just too worn out to talk. Or rather, complain. We were on honeymoon and spent the day sight-seeing, talking excitedly and traveling fair distances and had eventually landed up in a shopping centre where the shoes were the stuff of my dreams; very affordable, stylish and I gasped when I saw how small they were! I’m of course petite and wear size 3 shoes. I was delighted. Could it get any better? The morning had passed hearing traders haggle whilst I bobbed up and down a teeny boat on the floating market. I was inside that Jacobs advert. I’d inhaled the sweet smells from mounds of saffron and stopped on the water to buy an oversized straw hat. And now, look…small shoes!
So time elapsed and once the thrills had lulled, our tummies shouted in plight. The problem was that we couldn’t find any vegetarian food. The so-called-veggie dishes had oyster sauce in them or a fishy stock. I’d been served some in a noodle bar and the taste sent me out of the shopping centre.

So we were on the restless main road; sky train rumbling above us, cars honking past us and traders yelling at us. It was hot, dusty and it was all just too much. What we in awe of just hours ago, was now simply draining. Husband rang the hotel and they directed us to a restaurant they advised would actually serve proper veggie food.

It looked alright when we got there, but frankly I didn’t care anymore. My plate arrived and it was green. The noodles I mean, not the plate itself. I didn’t expect that; I was expecting coconut cream. It smelt like coriander and I almost wept. I told my husband about the time when my dad made mashed potatoes for my cousin, my brother and I when we were kids and he put coriander in it and we all gagged. My cousin held his breath and downed it because my dad bribed him with a giant bar of bounty. I looked down and my noodles and just wanted a bowl of tomato pasta. ‘Just eat it sweetheart, it is vegetarian and you haven’t eaten anything’.

I’d never tasted anything like it, it was like an Asian chutney on noodles. Garlicky heat and coriander with Thai sweet basil totally lifted me and the aroma of sesame oil, it was phenomenal. So simple, so fresh, moist and quite powerful. I asked for another portion as a take-away and I resolved to come home and make my own version.

I love this recipe because all of the fresh flavours that come through really decisively. They don’t over power each other and you can taste them all. I’ve used fresh basil and ginger along with coriander and the juices are those you get carried away by. This is perfect as a mid-week meal because it is easy to do. Please do use sesame oil, this dish wouldn’t taste the same without the perfume of nutty sesame seeds. I’ve also added toasted cashews and peanuts on top which for me, compete the Asian feel on this pasta. Don’t ruin it by adding cheese, you really don’t need it.

Ingredients to serve four

4 tbsp finely chopped coriander
4 cloves of garlic , minced
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp minced ginger
Salt to taste (I added 1tsp)
2 tsp fresh lime juice
4 tbsp finely chopped basil
500g fresh pasta

3 handfuls of cashew nuts and one handful of peanuts (shelled)


1. Sauté the garlic and ginger in a splash of oil in a pan for 2-3 minutes and stir intermittently to avoid sticking.
2. In a grinder, combine the coriander, basil, sesame oil, garlic and ginger, salt and lime juice and blitz it until it’s a smooth pesto.
3. Put the pasta on the boil and cook it per the packet instructions. Meanwhile, in a hot, non stick pan toast the nuts until they are golden brown
4. Once the pasta is drained, stir the pesto through it and top it with the nuts. We’ve warm. It’s best that way.

Cooking with Herbs

12 Responses to “Coriander, ginger and basil pesto pasta with toasted cashews and peanuts”

  1. Meena Lakhani September 23, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    looks amazing i have to try it tonight

    • Deena Kakaya September 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

      It’s absolutely delicious and it took me under 20minutes to make it! I hope you will enjoy it too..please let me know how you like it x

  2. Roberta September 23, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    Love your website and this recipe. Very Italian influenced which I like. Will try to make this very soon x

    • Deena Kakaya September 23, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

      Thanks so much, that’s very kind x I’m looking forward to seeing your feedback x

  3. Kalyan September 24, 2013 at 5:49 am #

    Just mouthwatering…looks delicious!

    • Deena Kakaya September 24, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

      Thank you Kalyan, that’s very kind of you! I hope that you’ll try the recipe out and let me me know how you liked it

  4. Allison (Spontaneous Tomato) September 27, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    Coriander pesto is the best! I’ve never considered adding peanuts to a pasta dish before, but I like that idea—I bet the peanuts and cashews would give this a nice crunch and more protein… kind of like adding chickpeas to pasta, which I occasionally do. (I also sometimes add cashews to my pesto, but blended into the sauce part.)

    • Deena Kakaya September 27, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

      Oh you like it too, that’s great! I love the mix of Coriander, ginger and basil and sesame oil lifts the whole dish! I think the nuts work becaus of the sesame oil in this dish. Thank you for your lovely words Alison, so encouraging xxx

  5. September 29, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    I love this kind of pasta! Isn’t it a German Spätzle? I love all the ingredients involved in this pasta dish – coriander is my favorite!

    • Deena Kakaya September 29, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

      Hi! thank you so much for your comments, So kind. It’s really herby and fresh as well as nutty. I hope you will try this recipe out and let me know how you like it. It’s so quick and easy to do! X


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