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Asian Pesto



Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a griddle pan. We used  the Le Creuset griddle pan as featured on the right to get the cool looking charred marks!  Grind a little salt over each side of your steaks. Once the pan is smoking hot, add your steaks and cook for a few minutes each side depending on your preference for bloodiness. Once cooked, remove from the pan and place on a chopping board. Salt and pepper each side of the steak and allow them to rest for 10 minutes.

During the resting time, cook your noodles according to the instructions on the packet, while steaming the mange tout in a wicker steamer above the noodles.

While the noodles cook, put your pesto in a pan over a low heat and keep adding drops of olive oil until you think it will be runny enough to coat the pasta without being too pasty. Stir your cooked noodles into the pan of pesto. 

Place the noodles in a bowl, and put the mange tout and slices of the steak on top.


I used to love the recipe for Asian pesto from  the book Diva Cooking (see link above) but when I went to look for it today, the page was on longer there! Definitely a well thumbed book... I was  therefore forced to guess & recreate what you see above. It worked out well but every ingredient is so unique in potency and flavour that you really need to keep tasting it yourself and add more or less of each ingredient as you see fit. This is definitely not a one size fits all recipe!

One thing I love to do in HK is take a Western classic and adapt it to the Asian ingredients around us. Instead of the  classic pesto using pine nuts, basil and parmesan, we ground peanuts with coriander and other Asian flavours. Then instead of pasta, toss it through hot noodles and place some steamed mange tout (snowpeas), grilled steak or chicken on top. Definitely taste your ginger before you put it in, as there are some dubiously potent varieties in HK. Indeed my first batch of this was ruined as a result so I went a lot easier on it second time around.


What you need:


A very large bunch of coriander (same quantity as in picture)

100g dry roasted peanuts

2 birdseye chillis

1 stalk of lemon grass

1 inch cube of ginger, peeled

1 tablespoon of roasted sesame oil

6 tablespoons of ground nut oil

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of Tamari or soy sauce

Olive oil on hand to add at the end before stirring through the noodles.


To serve with udon noodles, steak and steamed mange tout.


Serves 4 adults

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