Chicago’s Spicy Cashew Dressing


½ bunch fresh coriander, washed
2 heaped tsp minced ginger
1 heaped tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/3 cup cashew butter
1–2 tsp sriracha (chilli sauce)
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
juice of ½ lemon
1 good tbsp honey
1 cup grapeseed oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Makes 1½ cups


Te Pa Reserve Collection 2020 ‘Hillside’ Sauvignon Blanc


As your food detective, I take my job very seriously and last March in Chicago I ordered a very healthy (yes, kale) salad bowl after consuming so many delicious treats in this great foodie city. Devouring this salad, the dressing made the kale so good I begged for the dressing recipe.

Clearly this successful salad bowl outlet was not going to give me the recipe, but as I staged a sit-in and wouldn’t go until I knew what was in the dressing, the very patient young man (while obviously wanting to get rid of the ‘odd lady in the coat’ on table 5) gave me the list of ingredients, but not the recipe (listing ingredients is very common now with all the food allergies etc). Anyway, I went home and played and adapted and the result is very good – so great, you might like to drizzle a little over some pieces of cooked fish or chicken or grilled aubergine. Also, in the fridge the next day it almost has the consistency of a dip that could handle a crisp or a cracker or stick of raw veg.


In a food processor add all ingredients except the oil, salt and pepper. Process until well combined. Slowly add oil then season well. Good to make the day before you need it and if it is too thick, a little water can be added without a disastrous result. Store in the fridge in a sealed jar for up to 2 weeks.



The original recipe had umami seasoning and it does give it extra flavour. I recommend Trader Joe’s umami seasoning – you can buy it online here. Otherwise, you can make your own variation by blitzing dried porcini mushrooms in a spice mill with Kosher salt and you will get a similar powder.

Don’t worry if the washed fresh coriander still has some water on its leaves – the water also helps emulsify the dressing.