Thai Basil (Siam Queen Variety)
Basil has been a part of the American diet since the first colonists, but it was the sweet basils, Italian and Genovese, that were known to Americans. Thai Basil is a 20th century introduction to the American diet and it is often confused with its close cousin, Cinnamon Basil, because they look very similar. Thai Basil is native to the Indian subcontinent and is a common ingredient in the Asian cuisine from that part of the world. Thai Basil has burgundy colored stems and small pointed leaves. The leaves have a much stronger flavor than the Italian basils and a hint of anise. They can be used the same way as the Italian basils, but in much smaller quantities and there will be that hint of anise. When in bloom, Thai Basil produces clumps of deep purple flowers, reminiscent of lilac blooms. The flowers have the same flavor as the leaves and can also be used in cooking. I find the flowers breathtaking and believe that Thai Basil should be a part of every garden even if it is only used as an ornamental.
Note: In Alaska, it is best to grow this inside, or in a greenhouse. It is a great pot herb, and does well in a sunny window.
- Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice (appetiteforchina.com)