Pinoy pesto pinoy pesto - basil leaves, olive oil, pepper, anchovies, pili nuts and kalamansi juice

I love pesto–with pasta, with bread and even with fish and chicken. I envy the Italians for inventing it. I wish I can come up with something similar using only indigenous Filipino produce and products. I tried and came up with this.

Instead of pine nuts, I used roasted (salted) pili nuts. Then I substituted freshly-squeezed kalamansi juice for the lemon juice. The result rocked my world. :razz:

Of course I retained the other traditional ingredients–anchovies, basil leaves, freshly cracked black pepper, garlic… Next time, I’ll buy a jar of tuyo (dried salted fish) soaked in oil and we’ll see if it can be a good substitute for anchovies. I did try experimenting with extra virgin coconut oil but it was much too sweet and the aroma was too strong. pinoy pesto - basil leaves, olive oil, pepper, anchovies, pili nuts and kalamansi juice

In making this Filipinized pesto, a food processor or a blender will be most useful. Of course, you can do everything by hand, if you wish.

The ingredients… I can’t give you exact proportions because this was an experiment. I was feeling my way through the entire process. So, you’ll have to do your own experiment insofar as the proportion of the ingredients go.

You’ll need lots of fresh basil leaves, garlic, freshly-cracked black pepper, kalamansi juice, anchovies (including the oil), roasted pili nuts (I used salted), some salt and a lot of extra virgin olive oil. Just put everything in the food processor or a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a jar with a lid that fits snugly and keep in the fridge until you need it.

So what did I use the pesto with? That will be the next three blog entries. Stay tuned. :)


  1. says

    :wink: great! Very very good idea… patronized our own. Pinoy pesto sounds so exotique.
    The pasta will taste lovely even without the salmon. Bravo sassy!

  2. says

    Thanks, relly. :smile: I really want to do more experiments like this. I bet if we just stopped insisting that Filipino cuisine equals palayok and other old-fashioned ways, we’d go far in promoting Pinoy cooking globally.

  3. Shirley says

    Yum! Sassy, next time you make your ‘Pinoy Pesto’ sauce would you mind measuring the ingredients? I’d love to try it. Maybe you can bottle and sell this as yours…I’ll help market it here in San Diego. :smile:

  4. says

    again this evokes memories of my youth

    a young lady who had swept me of my feet had a mom who said pesto sauce is one which anyone can learn

    taking up the challenge i surprised said young lady and mom by making it right in front of their eyes after pouring to all the books i could find or bugging org mates enrolled at H.E. (it tasted great btw)

    mom was impressed but young lady was not preferring the clean cut kid from the school beside flyover in front of all those u turns :cry: