Thai food is by far one of my favorite cuisines, and Thai Basil is one of my favorite types of basil. Thai Basil looks a lot different than Sweet Basil. It has small narrow leaves, purple stems, and pink-purple flowers. I still have a very nice Thai Basil plant that I planted in a medium-sized pot this Spring that is still growing strong right now – that is, until our first frost hits here in Texas shortly. That means I have to make full use of my Thai Basil now!
As a personal chef I really like the way Thai Basil holds up in cooking. It’s great in recipes because its sturdy leaves stand up well under high or extended cooking temperatures, unlike Sweet Basil, which wilts under the same type of heat.
Here are a few links to some of my favorite type of recipes using Thai Basil. Of course, I always change a thing or two to suit my own tastes, but these recipes all have the Thai flavors that I love.
Recipes Using Thai Basil:
Of course, all types of basil are best when use fresh, but there is a way to prolong using basil a couple more months into the winter. I plan to run some of it through a food processor and freeze it in ice trays. It will be good for a couple of months in the freezer. Once it freezes, I’ll just pop it out of the ice trays and place in freezer ziplock bags to use in some Thai soup recipes.
I’ve also included a couple of links where you can purchase Thai Basil, Holy Basil and all types of gardening seeds. Amazingly, there are at least 100 different varieties of basil. Pine Tree Garden Seeds and Rare Seeds are excellent sites. I am also going to order some Holy Basil for planting next Spring. Basil is so easy to grow in a pot and I encourage you to give it a try. Holy Basil is not as easy to find here in the U.S. as Sweet Basil is, so it’s a lot easier to just order it.
For you serious Thai food lovers, there are three types of basil that are commonly used in Thai cuisine.
Thai Basil – used throughout Southeast Asia and also a lot in Vietnamese cuisine and used a lot in Western kitchens. It can best be described as anise, licorice-like, and a little spicy.
Holy Basil – has a spicy, peppery, clove-like taste and Thai people love this basil probably the most. It’s used in India for culinary, medicinal and also for religious purposes.
Lemon Basil – has undertones of lemon in both scent and taste