My Thai 2 – The Return of Thai Basil and Chilies

Using up leftover Thai basil and chilies

As part of my home cooking adventure making Thai Basil Chicken, I ended up with an overabundance of Thai chilies, as well as some leftover beans and Thai basil.  Not wanting to make the same recipe again so soon, I looked up ideas for storing extra basil and chilies and was pleased to find that both can be frozen!  In fact, the chilies don’t even need to be thawed before chopping them up to put into something that will be cooked.  I also found a couple recipes for Thai pesto to use up the remaining basil.

With that in mind, I packed up the chilies to freeze in groups of 3 since that’s about the number of chilies needed to develop the spice level I like in many recipes.  I did that since I wasn’t sure if they would freeze together or not; now that I’ve used some after being frozen it appears that they don’t freeze together so I likely won’t separate them in the future.  This time I ended up not freezing the basil and instead made the pesto with it.

I found a few recipes and, as usual, ended up making a combination of them using one as the main guide.  I was able to use up my fresh Thai basil, another chili or two, and then served with the rest of my green beans and the remaining 2 brown rice ramen cakes I had from a pack of 4.  This would also be great with chicken or shrimp added; the main recipe I followed suggested shrimp.

Below is the recipe I used, along with my notes.  Please share your experience with making Thai pesto, would love to know what you serve it with!

Thai Pesto

Thai pesto – great for using up extra cilantro and Thai basil

Inspired By: Rachael Ray Every Day


½ cup cilantro tops, packed

½ cup fresh Thai basil leaves, packed

¼ cup fresh mint leaves

¼ cup roasted peanuts (I used unsalted)

3 Tbsp peanut or canola oil (I used a combination of the two)

2 Tbsp fish sauce

2-3 large cloves garlic, crushed and peeled

1-2 fresh red Thai chilies (seeded)

Juice of 1 lime

Spoonful of sugar (up to 1 Tbsp, the more you add the more it cuts the spiciness)


In a food processor, pulse all ingredients together until you reach the pesto consistency you prefer; mine is fairly thick as I add a bit of the pasta water when I serve it with noodles.  Add more oil if a smoother more fluid pesto is preferred.

Serve as desired. Pictured as a serving suggestion with brown rice ramen noodles and green beans.


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