“I also encourage promiscuity with your ingredients to suit your leftovers…”
I always feel bad when I give you a recipe for a sauce or a paste because the majority of the time, the whole recipe is based on putting things in a blender and pressing a button. So when I do give a recipe that requires a flick of a switch, please keep in mind I am not giving you some ultra-knowledgeable, ground breaking method, it’s more about the ideas for flavour combinations and some pantry filling sauces and pastes I am looking to offer you.
So this Coriander Paste is a life saver for me. Usually it is a means of using up nonsense I have left in the fridge or in the pantry and I am just looking to find a way to avoid them being bullseye’d into the bin. But mostly it has saved my life when I have had some form of protein and have not had the energy to do anything substantial with it.
A paste is always a good thing to have in the fridge because it enables you to jump start any recipe. This particular paste has been good to me when I have wanted to, for instance, make a green curry and have had the meat and the coconut milk but nothing else. This paste is packed with so many real juicy, neck slapping flavours that I’ve only needed to chop up an onion, add the paste, add the chicken, add the coconut milk and simmer away.
I have even smeared this over a whole chicken before throwing it in the oven for a heavenly, Thai scented roast chicken that I served up alongside some rice and some peas. It is so versatile in its uses, you can always be assured that at the end of a week, if you look in my fridge, there is a paste using leftover herbs from throughout the week.
I also encourage promiscuity with your ingredients to suit your leftovers. Switch up the fresh herbs – for instance swap the coriander for some Thai basil to give an aniseed spike to your paste. You could even add some chilies to the mix to give your paste a real kick. The only thing I wouldn’t add is some tomatoes, because they are so liquid base and sweet that you will give yourself a wet sauce as opposed to a robust paste.
In the bowl of a food processor, rip up some fresh coriander leaves and some parsley leaves before pouring over a shot glass of sesame oil. Keep the bottle of sesame oil handy should you feel the paste needs a little more lubrication when the motor is running. To this add a quick throw of black peppercorns, some sea salt flakes and a few cloves of garlic.
In a dry pan, toast up some almond flakes before dropping them into the processor of oily leaves. Press the button and blitz everything into a rubbly, leafy green paste. If you feel the paste is slightly compartmentalised and is not amalgamating together to create a uniform paste, add a slight swish of sesame oil and hit the motor again (lid on!) to make everything conjoin together.
Pour this into a little glass or vial of some kind and keep it in the fridge for up to a week, bringing it out whenever you are stuck for dinner. Like I said, slather it over some chicken and serve with some rice and peas and whoever you are serving will think you have slaved for hours grinding together spices.
Thank God for food processors. No one needs that punishment of an evening.