I am growing Basil for the past 10 years now. This post is on the Thai variety of basil. Thai basil or bai horapa, is a variety of basil commonly used in Thai, Vietnam, Cambodia cuisines. In common parlance we call it Thai basil. My first packet of seeds was the ‘Queen of Siam’ brand. The flavor was just exquisite and strong.

Thai Basil in the open

Now I use my own seeds. Compared to the common Mediterranean sweet basil, Thai basil has a more pronounced licorice or anise flavor. There is a distinct difference between Thai basil and common sweet basil and so chefs do not use them as substitute for each other in – Thai etc or Italian recipes. Thai basil tends to hold its flavor better when cooked than its Mediterranean cousin does.

My Thai and common basil in some seasons grow side by side. After 6 months we observed that the sweet basil flavor got mixed with the Thai Basil scent. And the Italian chefs started complaining. Now we grow them quite far apart with a different crop in between to avoid the cross-pollination.

The leaves of Thai basil are deep green, smaller than those of Western basil, and arranged on purple-hued stems. Some people find the flowers edible as well. The flowers of Thai basil form in a cluster, not on a spike, unlike those of common basil. The flowers make an attractive plate garnish or colorful addition to green salads.

We use this aromatic basil in our soups at home and find it changes the entire experience.

Try out this lovely herb and enjoy!

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About dilipnaidu

An open mind! Love to share my thoughts and a keenness to learn. An engineer and a MBA I had a wonderful innings in the Army and later moved to consultancy and teaching. My current interests are reading, music, growing culinary herbs, playing golf and yoga. I am serious on "Living life less seriously". A warm welcome to you be well and be cheerful always.

4 responses »

  1. Shirley says:

    I love Thai basil and have grown ocimum basilicum ‘Siam Queen’ in the U.S. I am on sabbatical and tried to buy it in Israel. They called it Magic Basil, but it seems to have a heavier licorice taste rather than a spicy taste. My house cleaner is from Thailand and says this is not the spicy kind. Do you know what I whould be looking for? The leaves & flowers looke the ssame

    • dilipnaidu says:

      Hi Shirley great to know you too grow basil and have grown the ‘Siam Queen’ brand. I had procured my ‘Queen of Siam’ from Singapore when a friend brought it for me. I wonder if you could try ordering it through the Internet?

      Nice to know you are on a sabbatical in Israel which is considered an amazing country.

      Cheers and good wishes 🙂

  2. ravichandran.r says:

    sir do you sell kafir lime plant and thai basil been looking for this in the net for the past one week and visited so many nursery’s in chennai. I am interested in buying both and galangal too

    • dilipnaidu says:

      Hello Mr. Ravi its nice of you to have a look at my blog and for both your comments. Mine is a small hobby farm and I don’t sell seed. But I am certain you can locate some nurseries in Mumbai/ Bangalore though getting Kaffir Lime seeds is not easy. I had got few seeds from Singapore through a friend. I do not grow Galangal.

      Wish you good luck!

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