Did you know?
Ocimum tenuiflorum is closely related to culinary basil, but differs in being a short-lived perennial with smaller flowers. Commonly known as Holy Basil or “Tulsi” in South Asia, it is an important sacred plant in Hinduism. As with many plant species used in Asia, the religious uses are often linked with the medicinal uses. Historically, holy basil was frequently grown in large vessels in the courtyards of Hindu forts and temples to cleanse the body. Holy basil is far more aromatic and sharper in taste than the sweet Italian basils, so in cooking, it can be used in smaller quantities.
In herbal medicine, it is known as an adaptogen, used to help your body adapt to stress. Who doesn't need that? To make iced tulsi tea, place a good handful of tulsi (leaves & stems) in a heat-proof jar. Pour boiling water over it and let steep for 15-30 minutes. Strain and put in the fridge to enjoy later. If you want to try it cooked, check out this pork and holy basil stir-fry or this Thai fish recipe. CSA member Krys Johnson loves this Thai stir-fried chicken with basil from Pok Pok.
-Strong anti-bacterial properties and anti- inflammatory properties
-Contains flavonoids, which protect DNA from radiation and oxidative damage
-Used traditionally to ease digestion, soothe head- aches, reduce cough, and protect the heart
Chicken with Holy Basil | Gai Pad Gaprow
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
3 Thai chili peppers, chopped finely
1 cup chicken, chopped coarsely
1 red jalapeno pepper, cut into thin strips 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon thick black soy sauce
1 teaspoon thin soy sauce
1 cup Thai holy basil leaves
1. Cook the chopped garlic
and chilis in a 2-4 Table- spoons of oil over high heat until the garlic
is golden brown.
2. Add the chopped chicken and cook until it is done.
3. Add all three sauces and sauté a mi-
nute longer. Do a taste-test here and adjust seasonings if needed.
4. Add the red pepper slices and cook till almost done. Then add the holy basil. Sauté just until the basil is wilted, then remove from the heat.
5. Remove the pad gaprow from the wok and return to burner with a little additional oil. Allow the oil to get very hot and then crack an egg into it and allow to fry to your desired level.
Serve pad gaprow alongside jasmine rice with the fried egg sitting on top.
STORAGE: All basil is tricky to store well. It is best eaten, made into tea, or turned into pesto right away. If you must store it, place it in a jar of water like a bouquet and keep it on your counter. It may wilt some but it will still be tasty.