The difference between Thai basil and European basil

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With the rising popularity of Middle Eastern and Asian cookbooks, our desire for more exotic ingredients is also increasing. Thai basil is one of them, but what exactly is the difference between Thai basil and the European variant?

First of all, they have different appearance. While the European basil is bright green, the Thai basil often has a purple glow over the branches and sometimes also leaves. Some leaves of Thai basil are even completely purple, so it is also called purple basil.

The leaves and twigs of Thai basil are also a lot firmer, the leaves are tighter and you can see the veins better.

European basil
European basil
Green and purple Thai basil
Green and purple Thai basil

Different use in the kitchen

They differ in appearance, but it is mainly the taste that distinguish Thai basil from European basil. Actually they do not look alike at all, since the Thai basil has a more aniseed-like flavor. You can also find taste of mint sometimes.

Besides the difference in taste, the Thai basil aroma are also a lot stronger. With Thai basil, you often only have to add a fraction of what you are used to to a dish to achieve the same result. Many people say flavor of Thai basil is anise- and licorice-like and slightly spicy. Thai basil is found to be more stable under high or extended cooking temperatures than that of European basil.

Because Thai basil is more resistant to cooking, so you can put it in the pan – thing you do not do with the European basil. Think of soups, sauces and stir-fry dishes, but it is also delicious to sprinkle raw on a dish as a finishing touch or to hide in spring rolls.

Where can you buy Thai basil ?

It is becoming easier to find Thai basil. We always buy it at our favorite organic vegetable stalls throughout Europe, or in supermarkets near you.

Tip: can you only find large bunches of Thai basil at the store? Finely chop the leaves, spread over an ice cube mold and freeze. That way you can enjoy it for months!

Thai basil
Thai basil is sturdy and compact.
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