Luscious, Goan inspired Coriander Pesto

Coriander pestoCoriander or cilantro, whatever your name: I LOVE YOU! Seriously I cannot conceive cooking without coriander.  It’s one of the those herbs you either love or hate. I think there is a reason why I love Indian and North African food so much: there is always coriander! I’ve mentioned before how much my family loves pesto. Well, in this recipe I try to  satisfy both, our love for pesto and coriander.

This recipe was inspired by a holiday in Goa, India. We stayed at this exceptional place called Elsewhere. It’s one of those places you discover on the grapevine and you almost don’t want to share its existence for fear of disturbing its tranquility and beauty.  Situated on a beautiful stretch of beach on the Arabian Ocean, the boutique hotel consists mainly of four  beautiful beach houses, each with its little story, truly exclusive. Both time we went, we stayed a the Piggery (very adequate for our little piggy family), right on the beach witnessing every sunrise and sunset: absolute heaven !

The Piggery Photo credit Elsewhere
The Piggery Photo credit Elsewhere

Goa february2012 (53) Elsewhere is  everything you’d dream of in one place: peace, paradisiacal surroundings, smell of coconut in the air, beach, sand, yoga, massage and of course delicious food!  Fresh food made everyday to order, Goan fish curry, kebab, rotis, paneer, fresh coconut water and this glorious green chutney.  The kids and I loved it so much I HAD to hassle the chef to share it withe me.  I’ll post it one day. I did try to get the lemon pudding recipe which is my daughter’s favourite memory, ahhhhh Maybe by our third visit, I’ll manage to squeeze it out of him!

Morning stroll to the breakfast hut
Morning stroll to the breakfast hut

coriander pesto This pesto is my take on that chutney. You’ll need fresh coriander, lots of it. Unlike other herbs, coriander stems are full of flavour so please don’t throw then away, use them!  I’ve added ginger and a little green chilli because I wanted a little heat and kick from the ginger. You decide how much you can handle and whether you keep the chilli seeds or not. Some chillies aren’t very hot so there’s always a way to find what suits your tastebuds.To mellow everything together I add a pinch of sugar, and I really mean a pinch, just enough to bring a tiny bit of sweetness to the whole thing.  I like dark sugar, Muscovado or jaggery (very flavourful Indian cane sugar). White sugar tends to take over flavours very easily and I try to avoid it in my cooking. Like any pesto, you need a nut base and for this pesto, i’ve use cashew nuts which marry very well with coriander. At Elsewhere, there were cashew trees  everywhere and on our way to the restaurant we would see ladies picking the cashew apples.

Unlike other pestos, this recipe doesn’t contain cheese, I wanted to keep it asian and so I’ve added greek yogurt which is close to the Indian curd. The yogurt mellows the spiciness of the pesto and gives a beautiful smooth texture. A little dash of lime juice and you are sure to have a bright green sauce that will remain beautifully fresh for at least a day. I love this pesto so much I’ve never managed to keep it longer!

It’s a great accompaniment to any dish, especially BBQ and grilled meat, I ate my pesto with a nice, juicy, grilled beef fillet. Stay posted for other ways to use it!

Steak and coriander pesto

So here is the recipe for my Luscious, Goan inspired Coriander Pesto

Luscious Coriander Pesto

  • Servings: 1 cup
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 big bunches of coriander, washed with stems  (about 80 gr)
  • 1/3 cup of raw cashew nuts
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1 piece of ginger, the size of your thumb cut into small pieces
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded if you can’t stand the heat
  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp of greek yogurt
  • Juice of 1 big medium lime


  1. In a pan over medium heat, dry roast the cashew nuts, swirling them around to make avoid burning them. You’ll know there are ready when they start releasing their oily essence and aroma.
  2. In a food processor, add coriander, garlic, ginger, green chilli, cashew nuts and olive oil.  Give it a good blen.
  3. When all the ingredients are well blended add the yogurt and the lime juice.  Give it a few extra pulses to bring everything together.  There you have, a delicious, beautifully green coriander/cilantro pesto!!

Bon appétit!

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