Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thai Basil Pesto


This is one of my mad "foodie" science experiments! I had a huge amount of Thai basil from my last trip to the farmer's market and wanted to use it before it went bad. So I thought, why not make a paste based on Italian style pesto? I substituted common southeast Asian herbs, peanuts for the pine-nuts, cut down the amount of oil since I wouldn't be including a cheese, and voila! And I would like to acknowledge that I based some of my measurements on Dianne's Arugula Pesto at A Stove With a House Around It.

  • 1/3 cup peanuts
  • 1 cup Thai basil
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 small red chili (I left the seeds in, if you aren't a spice fiend you might want to scrape the seeds out)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (although, next time I'm going to try peanut oil, I was out when I made this)

I am sans food processor right now, so I just tossed all peanuts, herbs, garlic, and pepper in my spice grinder, tossed the resulting paste in a mixing bowl and added the lime juice and the vegetable oil and used a hand mixer to combine everything. I used half of it for Rice Noodle Stir Fry with Thai Basil Pesto , and froze the other half in a ziploc bag in the freezer.

Note: Because of the lack of a substitute for the cheese in Italian style pesto, this paste doesn't have much in the way of a salty flavor. Next time I make this I may add a TB of fish sauce--but then again may not, since almost everything I will probably cook with this with with have Nuoc Cham on the side.


  1. What a great idea! I also have an abundance of thai basil and was looking for ways to use it. This might just be going on pizza tonight :)

  2. Peanut sauce instead of the oil adds a delicious savory taste

  3. hi there, i also have a lot of thai basil at home, making pesto is a great idea than to waste it. I just made shiso pesto last night.