Cilantro Chutney (cilantro pesto)

Cilantro Chutne-png

Some yeas ago, Edward Hamann, a culinary expert on food from the Asian subcontinent and a wonderful cooking instructor who is now at Sur La Table, taught a small group of us how to make his fabulous Fresh Cilantro Chutney (Dhaniya ki Chatni ).  I started with his amazing recipe, added turmeric, black pepper, and made a few other minor changes, and that’s how this Cilantro Chutney recipe came to be.

This delicious sauce transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary – and it’s easy to make. We love it! For a while this sauce was the new “ketchup” at our house. I served it with everything from scrambled eggs to pan fried fish, and, of course, curries. In fact, it was this Cilantro Chutney that made me want to learn more about herb sauces and led me to create the other herb/vegetable sauces on this blog: Charmoula, Arugula Pesto, and Artichoke Lemon Pesto.


1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¾ cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon peeled and roughly chopped fresh ginger
4 cloves peeled garlic
2 Serrano peppers, stemmed and roughly chopped, including some of the seeds
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ – ½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
3 bunches (about 7/8 pound) fresh cilantro, including all but the very ends of the stems

Note: I like to add dry ground or finely chopped fresh turmeric (and freshly ground black pepper) wherever I can get away with it. It’s so healthy! Adding 2 teaspoons of ground turmeric to this recipe does not negatively affect the taste, in fact you hardly even notice the turmeric, so why not add it?!


Food processor

Add all the ingredients to the food processor fitted with the metal blade and process to desired consistency.


Place the ingredients into a blender – in the order given above — but do not put all of the cilantro into the blender at one time. Blend and then add more cilantro and blend again. If needed, stop the blender; push the cilantro down toward the blade; then place the cover on the blender and blend until a lovely smooth sauce results.


  • Store in the refrigerator for a few days
  • Freeze in 100% food grade silicone muffin pans. When frozen, just pop the frozen “muffins” out, and place them in a plastic freezer bag; store in the  freezer for use anytime.


  • Use as a condiment to liven up almost everything, including fish, chicken, eggs, or tofu.
  • Use as a hot or cold sauce to go with almost everything.
  • Mix with ripe avocado to make a lovely dip or spread. I just put some of this Cilantro Sauce-avocado mixture on slices of daikon and it was fabulous. The next time I need to bring an appetizer to someone’s party, this is what I plan to bring – it’s delicious and a great conversation starter too!
  • Sauté any vegetable in olive oil and mix some of this sauce in at the end.
  • By the way, I just mixed some of this sauce with some sautéed greens. Superb!
  • Add to soups — bean soups, chicken soups, vegetable soups, fish soups.
  • Add olive oil to make this sauce into a salad dressing!


How to create fabulous fresh herb sauces or pestos

Enjoy and be healthy!


2 thoughts on “Cilantro Chutney (cilantro pesto)

  1. Welcome Back Leni! Site looks great and I love the schematic you made for the chutney for the ingrediants in tree format. Lovely and yummy.

    1. Thanks, Claire!!! Finally, I decided to put other things aside and do what I love to do – make a mess in the kitchen and blog about the results. I hope you enjoy the new recipes! They are my current favorites!

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