Thai Basil (O. basilicum var. thysiflora)
Thai basil is commonly used in cooking through out south east Asia in countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. Where it is available almost every where that there is a fresh market or supermarket.
This basil is used in many Thai dishes, but the most popular by far are the Thai green curry and the Thai red curry, with their unique flavours recognised all around the world.
Later in this article I will show you how to make a delicious green curry using a good quality Thai green curry paste and fresh eggplant and Thai basil leaves.
Cancer prevention- This basil has been linked to help prevent cancer, due to its antioxidant properties.
Anti-inflammatory- This herb also has natural anti-inflammatory properties which help fight inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis.
Anti bacterial- According to studies the essential oil in this basil is effective in fighting bacterial infections and treating skin conditions such as acne.
Vitamins- A, B6, E, K, C, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate
Minerals- Iron, Potassium, Manganese, Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc.
These leaves have a strong aroma with distinct sweet and anise flavours with purple stems. They are used as an extra condiment to many Thai noodle dishes. The leaves are added after cooking to your bowl of noodles together with any chilli and fish sauce condiments required, they give your meal very distinct and delicious flavours.
Here is a green curry I like to cook at home for the family. It's an easy recipe and can be spicy or not spicy according to your taste. I also find this dish best served with steamed rice or boiled rice.
I am using chicken in my green curry below but you can use pork which works equally as well. Buying green curry paste is available online.
So to start cooking you will need a wok or a large saucepan and all your ingredients ready as listed below. And don't forget to start cooking your rice first as this takes a little time.
Serves 4 people
Green Curry Paste Ingredients
25 grams large green chillies
10 grams white pepper
45 grams shallots
20 grams garlic
6 grams galangal or ginger
6 grams lemon grass
1/4 teaspoon lime peel
2 grams cilantro root
2 grams cilantro
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 gram caraway seeds
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Add all these ingredients to you food blender and whiz until it becomes a paste.
2 x chicken breasts sliced but not to small
10 x egg plant cut into quarters
250ml coconut milk
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon chicken stock
3 x kaffir lime leaves
4 x red birds eye chillies sliced in half
1 cup Thai basil leaves
1 cup of water
Using a wok or a large pan add 150ml coconut milk, heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes, then add all of the green curry paste and stir in and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
Then add the chicken and the rest of the coconut milk, if its a bit thick you can add some water at this point until it has a soup like density, give it a stir and leave to cook for another 5 minutes.
Now add the egg plant, chicken stock and brown sugar, stir and leave to cook for another 5 minutes.
Finally add the Thai basil leaves and red chillies, stir and leave to cook for 1-2 minutes.
Turn off the heat and serve with rice.