I used to hate coriander. Then one of my Mothers, Louise, started making coriander pesto and I didn’t mind it. The more I ate of it, the more I liked it. And eventually I started liking coriander in everything. I later read an article – which of course I can’t find now – that said that the dairy in coriander pesto breaks down some of the enzymes in coriander that a lot of people hate the taste of, so it can be used to train the palette to like coriander. Science in action (unverified because I can’t find the damn link and googling coriander pesto just delivers a million recipes).
Anyway, last week I had an excess of coriander so I made pesto:
- Blitz / pummel / chop a handful of coriander and parsley, plus a small garlic clove and a big slosh of olive oil til it’s in tiny bits but isn’t a paste. Then put it in a bowl. (I used half olive oil / half macadamia oil, but this isn’t essential).
- Blitz a handful of lightly toasted cashew nuts; likewise, you want some crunch to it, not a paste. Add to bowl.
- Grate a piece of parmesan into your bowl (decide how cheesy you like you pesto and put that much in).
- Add pepper & salt to taste and squeeze in half a lemon.
- Optional: I added half a finely diced deseeded chilli.
Last night I wanted to make soup. Even more than this, I wanted to make a soup I could dollop my coriander pesto into. So I did and it was bloody delicious.
- half a butternut pumpkin, chopped
- half a small cauliflower, broken into florets
- 1 cup (dry) chana dal
- 2 brown onions, diced
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped (it was nice and garlicky; you can use less if you aren’t a garlic fiend)
- Half a teaspoon paprika
- Half a teaspoon chilli flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- Vegetable stock
- Olive oil
- Pepper & salt
- Soak the chana dal in water for 1 hour
- Drain and then add 4 cups water and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes-an hour. You can use half stock / half water, or add a stock cube if you aren’t using liquid stock. You want the chana dal cooked but still a bit bitey / al dente.
- Fry off the onion til it’s translucent then add the garlic and continue to fry on a lower heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the paprika, chilli, pumpkin and cauliflower and stir it around in the garlic and onion mixture for 5-10 minutes, to infuse some of the flavour before you add the stock.
- Add vegetable stock to cover the vegetables and simmer until they are soft.
- Once cooked, blitz the cauliflower and pumpkin soup with a stick blender til smooth and add pepper and salt to taste.
- Add the chana dal and stir to mix.
- Serve with a dollop of coriander pesto.