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Also Known as
Horapa, Thai Sweet Basil, Anise/ Licorice Basil, Oriental Basil, Asian Basil
Thai basil is tropical variety of sweet basil which has deep green small leaves, purple stems and a subtle mint/ anise flavour. There are 2 to 3 common varieties like Thai holy basil (small, soft hairy leaves) and Thai lemon basil which have unique flavours. However, the most commonly used variety is the horapa variety. Thai Basil has a more pronounced flavour as compared to other varieties of basil.
How to select
The leaves of Thai basil should look vibrant and be deep green in color. They should be free from darks spots or yellowing. Ensure that the leaves are not wilting and are free from any tears or cuts etc.
· It is commonly used in Thai, Cambodian, Laos and Vietnamese dishes as a condiment. It is used in recipes ranging from chicken, sea food to pork. In Thai cooking, handful of fresh thai basil is used whole in spicy stir fries.
· Use it in curries, stir-fried dishes, pastas, salads and soups.
· It goes very well with ingredients like garlic, tomatoes, olives, eggplant etc.
· Steep in warm water for 20 minutes and then have as a herbal tea.
· Infuse with ingredients like vinegar, oil etc to make infused flavourings. These go well in preparation of salad dressings.
· It is steeped in cream/ milk and this flavoured milk is used to make truffles, chocolates, cakes etc.
How to store
Thai basil can be kept fresh by placing it in a glass with the cut ends in water, covering it with a cling film, and storing it in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can wrap the herbs in paper towels before covering with cling film for refrigerating. They will stay fresh for about a week.
· Thai Basil has the volatile oils Cineole, Estragole, Eugenol, Limonene, Linalool, Myrcene, and Sabinene, along with Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Magnesium.
· It contains the antioxidants Orientin and Vicenin, both water-soluble flavonoids that stimulate the immune system and prevent DNA damage in white blood cells.
· It has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.