Thursday, 31 March 2011

Pan Fried Prawns with Glass Noodles in Thai Basil and Coriander Pesto

One of my favourite things to do with fresh herbs is pesto. I had Thai basil (learn about this very special basil in my post on Three Cup Chicken), so I decided to make pesto out of it.

And now that I have a mini-chopper I can do pesto in no time at all! I know, those Italian mamas will insist on grinding everything the traditional way in a mortar and pestle, but.. I wanted pesto fast ): To redeem myself, I have done (chunky) walnut basil pesto by hand before. The next bit about this very special pesto that's sure to send the Italian mamas reeling again, is that I didn't use Parmesan, heck I didn't use any cheese at all! To keep to the true Thai theme, I used naturally fermented soybean paste to provide the savoury factor, and used toasted crushed peanuts instead of pine nuts.

Thai Basil and Coriander Pest0
1 clove garlic
1 large handful of Thai basil (leaves only)
2 large handfuls of coriander
1 handful of unsalted (and preferably soaked) peanuts, lightly toasted
1 tbsp of fermented soybean paste (kind of like white miso)
1 green chilli, deseeded (I used Thai birds eye chilli, but you can opt for milder ones;) )
fish sauce (to taste)
1 tsp of sesame oil
extra virgin olive oil
squeeze of half a lime

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor/mini chopper, pouring in enough extra virgin olive oil till you get to the desired smooth consistency. Add the lime juice after that to add some freshness.

With my controversial pesto ready, it was time for some asian-style pesto-and-pasta!

Panfried Prawns with Glass Noodles in Thai Basil and Coriander Pesto
1 bundle of glass noodles (also known as mung bean threads/vermicelli, cellophane noodles, dang hoon. Not the same as rice noodles.)
couple of shrimps/prawns, shelled (please use more, I just only had 2 sad ones left.)
a few drops of fish sauce
a little bit of coconut oil (or evoo)
1/4 cup of Thai basil and coriander pesto

1. Soak the glass noodles in cold water for about 10 minutes to soften. Drain, then pour boiling water over the noodles and let sit for 10 seconds (these cook really fast!). Drain, then run cold water over it to stop the noodles from continuing to cook.
2. Devein the prawns by slitting the back, coat with fish sauce and fry them in a hot pan, flipping once. You'll know when they're cooked, because they turn pink and curl into that pretty butterfly shape.
3. Toss all in the pesto, and garnish with a sprig of fresh Thai basil.

I love glass noodles in all their translucent beauty and slippery goodness, and I love prawns, though I wish there were more, and when both of them are covered in that delicious savoury pesto with the fragrance of these asian herbs and the smell of toasted peanuts, it's <3!

By the way, Miz Helen decided to fill her plate up last week with my Baked Egg in Jacket Potato with Chilli, Lime and Coriander Butter (: Yay.


  1. How fantastic! I love pestos and am always looking for a new one to wow everyone at my table (especially me). Thanks for sharing this with Presto Pasta Nights.

  2. What's wrong with men these days? You should have been grabbed up by a great guy a long time ago.

  3. A wonderful Southeast Asian riff on a very famous green sauce. Sounds fabulous!

    Thanks for your recipe, Shu!

  4. Your pesto looks really good...and I'm sure it's perfect with shrimps and glass noodles! YUMMY!
    Your wonderful blog really inspires me, Shu Han…and I think it’s enough reason to pass these awards to you!
    You are one blogger who’s so worthy of these awards!
    More power!

  5. This looks fantastic!! Glad to find another foodie into real food; there are more of us than I ever thought! :)

  6. One more thing Shu Han, I included your blog on my link page,
    Let me know if it’s ok with you...:)

  7. thanks all for the encouraging comments (:

    Victor: haha ><

    Tina: Wow thank you! Of course you can, i'll be honoured to!

  8. I am going to try this pesto! I love the idea of using miso!

  9. Lovely! I love pesto and I think it is brilliant to use in Thai style cooking with glass noodle. Yum!

  10. I've been looking through your blog and I'm just so impressed! The foods are so exotic and delicious-looking! And for a student, this is amazing! All I ate when I was in school was cereal & sandwiches : ) This shrimp & noodle dish sounds amazing!

  11. Thanks! (: Yah, my mum says I'm wasting too much time in the kitchen instead of on my studies ><

  12. That looks yummy! I don't think I've ever had glass noodles. I like how you combined the basil and cilantro in your pesto. I am going to try that.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I am a new follower of yours.