The Spicier, Sexier Basil: Thai Basil

Ingredient Spotlight

Thai basil is sweet basil's spicier, kickier cousin. It has all of that lovely licorice flavor and aroma that we love, but with a little something more. What do you cook with it?The leaves of thai basil plants are flat and blade-shaped with a purplish tinge that can spread over the entire leaf depending on the exact variety. Like sweet basil, thai basil is as aromatic as it is tasty. Lots of peppery, anise-like, and warm spicy flavors in this herb.

Thai basil stands up to cooking a little better than sweet basil, making it a good choice for soups, stir-fries, and curries. It can also be eaten raw sprinkled over salads or cold noodles dishes, and used interchangeably with sweet basils in most recipes. Thai basil has been showing up in a lot of gourmet cocktail recipes of late, a trend which we heartily support.

A few recipes for your basil-icious enjoyment:

Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad)
Coconut and Thai Basil Ice Cream
Fish Steamed in Banana Leaves
Vegetarian Pho

How do you like to use Thai basil?

Related: Beyond Basil: Fresh Ideas for Pesto

(Image: Flickr member choking sun licensed under Creative Commons)

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