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What’s the difference between all these types of basil?

What’s the difference between all these types of basil?

  • Sweet, holy—no, I’m not cursing, I just want to talk about basil types

If there’s any single herb that everyone loves, I think it has to be basil. (Well, that’s my opinion. I did not do a formal study on this.) It is, after all, one of the most popular herbs in cooking thanks to its aroma and flavor. You can find it as an ingredient in cuisines all over the world, from Asia to Europe.

There are dozens of different types of basil out there, but here are three of the most common you’ll find in dishes here in the country.

Sweet basil

The most common type, the sweet basil is named such because it has a sweeter taste compared to other basils. this is the type of basil you’d want to use if you’re making pesto. Or pizza.

You can distinguish it by its deep green, glossy leaves.

Thai basil

Unlike sweet basil, the Thai basil has smaller, pointier leaves along with a spicier, bolder flavor. As the name suggests, it is best used for Thai dishes like curries, stir-fries, or soups.

Thai basil is also easy to identify because of its purple stems and flowers.

[READ: Travel’ to Thailand with these dishes you can enjoy at home]

Holy basil

Also called tulsi, holy basil is named such because of its importance in Hinduism and Ayurvedic medicine. Compared to the previous two types, holy basil has a more bitter taste, making it more suited for dishes that require more intense flavors and cooking. A popular dish that uses holy basil is the Thai stir-fry dish, pad kra pao.

Pad grapao from Ayutthaya © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.