Going Green with Lunch.. – Cilantro Pesto with Ginger and Chile aka Green chutney and Chutney Sandwiches

Cilantro “Pesto” with Ginger and Chile

As I flipped the pages of ‘How to Cook Everything’ by Mark Bittman, in search of my calling for this weeks IHCC – Herb Garden challenge, I found this recipe. It was the day of the mill ‘green chutney’ recipe that is used so liberally in Indian cuisine. I almost always have this so called pesto on hand, and I put it to a lot of uses.

  • use it as a dip for Indian breads like dosa, chapati and also idlis
  • use it as a condiment when I make street fare like chats and other fried foods like pakoras, samosas etc.
  • mix it with yogurt to make a quick raita
  • add it while cooking rice for any pulavs
  • use it as a spread to make sandwiches
  • use it as a dip for crudite

But, I had never thought of it of being an Indian equivalent for pesto. Its amazing how you can be inspired to look at something you are very familiar with from a totally different perspective. Thanks Mr. Bittman.

I totally wanted to toss the so called ‘pesto’ with some pasta for lunch today, but I didn’t have any pasta on hand, nor enough time. I chose to make a sandwich with it instead and also used it as a dip for my roasted broccoli. Still, a very satisfying and equally delicious lunch.


2 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

Handful of mint leaves

2 cloves garlic peeled  and chopped

2 fresh thai chillies

1 tbsp ginger

1 tbsp peanut oil

1 tbsp lime juice

salt to taste


Combine all the ingredients in a blender  to make a smooth paste. Taste and adjust seasoning. Store in an airtight glass bottle to last for up to a week.The mint leaves was my addition to the recipe, since I had them on hand. Also, I reduced the oil from 3 tbsp in the original recipe.

For the sandwiches: Trim the edges from two slices of sandwich bread. You don’t have to, but it looks much prettier. 🙂 Butter the slices.(I used ICBINB – Light). Buttering the slices is a very important step, because the butter protects the bread from becoming soggy. Top the butter with an even layer of cilantro ‘pesto’. Arrange thin slices of cucumber over one slice and top with the other. Cut it in half diagonally or serve as is. This would make an elegant tea sandwich, if you were to have an English tea party; 🙂

Verdict: I enjoyed going green with my lunch. It was light satisfying and very refreshing. I loved the sandwiches, and above all it was very healthy. 🙂

This goes to this weeks IHCC – Herb Garden.

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  1. I’ve been making all variety of pestos lately, and this sounds like an excellent one to try. If I ever get an overabundance of cilantro. For some reason, that particular herb never produces much around here. I probably need to find the missing nutrient in our soil that it’s craving.

    • Thanks for stopping by Claudia. I haven’t had any luck growing cilantro in Seattle…we just dont get enough sunshine consistently..I think with Hawaiian weather you would have better luck 🙂

  2. Wow – I love that you used this for dipping your broccoli. Very healthy and tasty indeed. Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs. It has such wonderful flavor.

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