Fresh mint adds a cooling touch to hot summer chicken, pesto and chutney recipes | Where NOLA eats

Fresh mint adds a cooling touch to hot summer chicken, pesto and chutney recipes |  Where NOLA eats

If you’ve ever grown mint, you know it can be invasive. However, you also know how cooling it can be in drinks, cocktails, water, sauces, salads and other dishes.

Many mint plants died in my yard while trying to find a place for it to grow. Finally, it was happy in a large planter that also contained a small native tree, in the shade by the back door. Now the tree is on its last legs, but the mint has been blooming for a number of years.

I had enough to make all of the recipes below. My favorite use of mint remains goi ga, the Vietnamese cabbage, mint and chicken salad that is so easy to make.

I made it with pre-sliced ​​cabbage for coleslaw and pre-sliced ​​carrots, both of which work beautifully. The hardest part was peeling peanuts for garnish.

Actually, I like to add a lot more peanuts. I urge you to try this salad if you’ve never made goi ga. It can also become your favorite.

Countries like Vietnam and Thailand and India, with a sweltering climate like ours, have many uses for mint. This time I made one of my favorite things from Indian restaurants, a coriander mint chutney that I found on

This is such a versatile recipe. The yogurt can be used or not. You can add peanuts or unsweetened coconut to make it thicker. To make it more like a traditional restaurant chutney, omit the yogurt and add ¼ to ½ cup chopped onion.

And of course you can use it with any Indian dish, or kabobs, rice, naan, samosas, whatever. Or, like I did, just dig in with pita bread or crackers and have it as a dip.

The third mint dish I tried for the first time was a pistachio-mint pesto, built on the same principle as the well-known basil-pinenut-parmesan classic. Again, I was shelling nuts. Bon Appetit’s recipe says don’t worry if it turns a forest green color. I made this because my husband was grilling tritip, and we were both thrilled with the flavor and visual contrast of the pesto. This would also be great on pasta or in any other application where you could use traditional pesto.

As I wrote before, mint can be substituted for basil, and vice versa. Keep calm, my friends!

Pistachio Mint Pesto

Adapted from Bon Appetit as I couldn’t find any raw pistachios. Instead I used roasted salted and cut back on the salt. Use on any grilled meat or roasted vegetables. Makes about ¾ cup.

2/3 cup raw pistachios (or just roasted salted pistachios)

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon if using salted nuts)

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups (packed) mint leaves, plus more small leaves to serve

½ ounce finely grated Parmesan cheese (about ½ cup)

½ lemon

1. If using raw pistachios, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 5-8 minutes. Let cool. Chop 1 tablespoon of nuts before serving.

2. Blend oil, salt, and all but 1 tablespoon of chopped nuts in a blender or food processor until nuts are finely ground. Add 2 cups mint and mix until a coarse puree forms; Season with salt and pepper.

3. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the Parmesan cheese.

4. Just before serving, squeeze the lemon juice into the pesto and stir well. Scatter mint leaves and reserved nuts on top.

Coriander Mint Chutney

This versatile recipe is from† To make it vegan, substitute coconut yogurt or soy yogurt, or use silken tofu, a tablespoon of olive oil, and more salt and lemon. Serve with rice or an Indian dish or use as a dipping sauce or with roasted vegetables. Makes 1½ cups.

½ cup yogurt

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 bunch coriander, small soft stalks OK

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1 cup (packed) mint leaves

1 medium jalapeno, sliced

2 teaspoons chopped ginger

1 garlic clove

¼ to ½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon sugar (or honey or another sweetener alternative)

Optional: 1 tablespoon of water or just enough to get the blender going if you’re not using a food processor

1. Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until relatively smooth.

2. Taste and adjust salt and lemon if necessary.

3. Refrigerate until serving. Chutney will keep for about four days in the refrigerator.

VARIATIONS: Omit yogurt to make it less creamy. For a more traditional restaurant-type chutney, omit yogurt and add ¼-½ cup chopped onion.

To thicken the chutney, add peanuts or unsweetened coconut.

Vietnamese Mint and Cabbage Chicken Salad (Goi Ga)

I’ve published this recipe before and have been playing with it for years. It keeps quite well in the fridge. I add extra peanuts. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

1 pound cooked shredded or chopped chicken

14-ounce bag shredded cabbage, about 6 cups

1 cup grated carrots

¾ cup coarsely chopped mint (or coriander and/or basil)

2 tablespoons fish sauce

4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from 2 limes

Salt and pepper to taste

A few dashes of hot sauce

Dry roasted peanuts for garnish

1. Combine chicken, cabbage, carrots and herbs in a large bowl. Throw well.

2. Dress up with fish sauce and lime juice. Stir well again.

3. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Be careful with the salt, because the fish sauce is already salty enough.

4. Refrigerate until serving. Garnish with peanuts.

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