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The Second Time bspencer Talks about Thai Basil


It’s not always easy to get fresh basil if you don’t live in the right area, but oddly enough you can order it from Amazon. There are two problems with a that 1.) it’s Thai basil (which is lovely but has a distinctly anise flavor) 2.) it comes by the pound.┬áNeither those factors may sound like problems, but because Thai and regular basil can’t be used interchangeably, it really is one. So the issue becomes: What the hell do I do with two pounds of Thai basil?

Well, I used a hefty handful in some Thai-inspired coconut-based soup…and I made some Asian-style pesto. A few nights ago I served some of the pesto over grilled chicken breasts–that was great. Last night I rubbed some under the skin of a roasted chicken–that was divine. I’d link to to a recipe for Asian-style pesto, but it’s easy enough to google yourself, plus you’ll probably want to synthesize all the variations to make one that sounds right for you. (I added a touch of brown sugar to mine, to mellow out the lime juice.)

I’ve done a bit research on the subject of different basils. The consensus seems to be that Thai basil is probably not ideal for Italian cooking. That I agree with. However, I did find WRONG! people on the internet saying that regular basil should not be used in Asian-inspired dishes. I strongly disagree. I’ve used regular basil in goodness knows how many Asian dishes and they turned out just fine. The one piece of advice offered on this subject I agree with is this: mint makes a terrific substitute for Thai basil if you can’t find the latter.

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