Thai Basil comes from Southern Asia and is very similar to regular Basil. However, they do differ in taste as Thai basil is slightly sweeter in taste, hence it is also called sweet basil. It also has a spicy kick to it similar to that of star anise known for its spicy and minty taste. With few pieces of equipment and due care, you can easily grow Thai basil in your homes.
Thai basil plays a crucial role in enhancing the taste and aroma in several recipes (primarily, as the name suggests Thai cuisines). However, there are times when you might not have it at home, or there can be a shortage in the market. In that case, you can always use the below-mentioned substitute of Thai basil.
It is a good substitute for Thai Basil. Italian Basil has a Mediterranean origin and is popular amongst Italian dishes. For example, it is used in marinara sauces, pasta, pesto, etc.
Since they share the same background as Thai basil, these are bound to have a similar taste and profile. You can easily use Italian basil in all the recipes that require Thai Basil without worrying about the change in the taste.
While using Italian basil in place of Thai basil, one thing to keep in mind is that Thai basil has a more intense flavor. So, when adding Italian basil to your dish, add one and a half times more than the required quantity of Thai basil to bring out the flavor.
Tulsi, also known as the Holy basil comes from the Indian subcontinent. However, it is popularly used in Thai cuisines. Tulsi is spicy as compared to Thai basil’s sweet flavor. So, while using Tulsi in place of Thai basil, you might want to consider using a lesser quantity to not disrupt the dish’s flavor. Many chefs advise using Tulsi in the same amount in which Thai basil is required. However, in the end, it really does depend on how much savory you want your dish to be.
As mentioned above, Thai basil holds the similar taste to that of anise. Thus, using star anise as a substitute for Thai basil is an excellent option. The herb is known to have a very strong and pungent smell. A small amount of star anise goes a long way. When using as an alternate to Thai basil, add in very little quantity or until you get your desired flavor.
Apart from the famous alternatives to Thai basil as discussed above, there are a few unconventional substitutes that you can use in the time of need. These include fennel and tarragon.
Fennel: Fennel can be used as a substitute for Thai basil as it too has a sweet flavor. Its recommended adding little quantities in turns of fennel while using as a substitute, as you would not want its taste to overpower the dish.
Tarragon: On the other hand, tarragon is another great herb that can be used to replicate the flavor of Thai basil. Again, use in lesser amounts and keep adding until you get your desired taste.
How to Grow Thai Basil At Home?
If you’re looking to grow fresh Thai basil at your home, you can follow the below steps to get the perfect result;
- You’ll need a pot that is 6 inches deep or more
- Fill it with potting mix
- Sprinkle 5-6 seeds of Thai basil on it and cover the pot
- Make sure you keep the pot in an area that has maximum contact with sunlight
- Keep the soil moist but also don’t add a lot of water otherwise, you may end up spoiling the plant
- Once you see them grow, trim down the basil leaves to two in each pot and keep the best looking ones for proper growth
Benefits of Thai Basil
- It has anti-cancer properties
- Used for making several medicines
- Help reduce bloating
- Help reduce water retention
- A good cure for acid reflux
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