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Thai basil: Wikis


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Thai basil
Early season Thai basil
Early season Thai basil
O. basilicum var. thyrsiflora
Cultivar Group
Thai basil

Thai basil is a cultivar group of basil. It has a more assertive taste than many other sweet basils. The herb has small leaves, purple stems and a subtle licorice or mint flavor. One cultivar used in the United States is 'Queen of Siam'.


Nomenclature and taxonomy


It should be noted that there are three types of basil commonly used in Thai cooking. This page refers to the most common one, which is known as horapa (Thai: โหระพา) in Thai and is a Ocimum basilicum cultivar. To avoid confusion, the other two types are Kra phao Thai holy basil, a variety of Ocimum tenuiflorum (Thai: กะเพรา),[1] and Manglak Thai lemon basil (Thai: แมงลัก), both of which are also used in Thai cooking but have quite different flavours.

Thai holy basil is a variety of Tulasi, which is known and worshipped in India and is also often known as Holy basil. Both Thai holy basil and Tulasi have smaller, softer, slightly hairy leaves and an aroma akin to that of cloves.

In Vietnam, this basil was known as húng quế (lit. "cinnamon basil", because of its purple stem).

Culinary uses

Thai basil, which has a mild anise flavor, is used as a condiment in Thai and Vietnamese dishes. A plate of raw Thai basil is often served as an accompaniment to phở (to which it can be added by the customer). Thai basil is also a frequently used ingredient in Thai red curry (แกงเผ็ด). The basil used in "Thai chicken/pork/seafood with basil leaf" is the kra phao (กะเพรา), or Thai holy basil variety. Thai Basil is also an important ingredient in the very popular Taiwanese dish, Three Cup Chicken. The particularly flavourful Thai basil is grown in Láng village, Hanoi and nearby. The Thai basil grown in this region is named "húng Láng".

See also

List of basil cultivars


  1. ^ [1]Adventures in Thai Cooking and Travel

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