Asian pesto with Singapore noodles

Photographer: Emma

My friend Rachel lovingly made this recipe for me a couple of years back and in my mind it has firmly etched itself as one of my most memorable dinners. 

Like most, Rachel arms herself with a recipe after having invited friends over for a casual dinner.  She follows the recipe carefully, like a grasshopper, reading and creating with caution.  It’s only after the first mouthful, when her guests break out in smiles and mmmmm’s that she relaxes and considers whether it will be added to her repertoire. Cooking can become a robotic mundane task and it is cooks like Rachel who make it exciting and pure. 

I really encourage you to make this recipe; having just cooked it recently, I loved it just as much as when Rachel cooked it for me 2 years ago.


2cm piece of ginger, peeled
100g unsalted peanuts
2 chillis (depending on how hot you like it)
2 limes, zested and juiced
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bunch coriander, chopped in half to separate the stalks from the leaves
1 tbsp oil (I used canola)
3 chicken thighs, chopped into 1-2cm pieces
3 heads of bok choy, quartered
1 red pepper, finely sliced
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 x 250g packets Singapore noodles


1. In a food processor, process the ginger, peanuts, chillis, lime zest, garlic and coriander stalks until a paste has formed.
2. In a non-stick frying pan, heat the oil on a moderate temperature and fry the paste (from step 1) until the nutty, fragrant aroma comes out.
3. Increase the heat and add the chicken, fry for 5 minutes while it browns and sizzles.
4. Turn the heat back down and add the bok choy. Cover the frying pan with a lid and let the bok choy steam for 5 minutes. Make sure the paste doesn’t burn by taking the lid off the pan and stirring occasionally.
5. Remove the lid and add the red pepper, lime juice and soy sauce then cook for a further 2 -3 minutes.
6. Lastly add the noodles and coriander leaves (to your taste) to the pan and gently stir to combine all ingredients. Cook for 2 minutes or until the noodles are hot.
7. Serve in bowls and garnish with coriander leaves.