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Jun 21, 2007 12:55 PM

I have too much basil, but I don't want pesto!

I have 7 basil plants that are growing like crazy on me! The first thing you'd think would be, "make pesto!" but I already have lots of frozen pesto left over from last year. I've been making caprese salads like crazy and I've been putting it on pasta, but I'd love some other ideas. Thanks!

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  1. Thai basil chicken...screamin' key ingredient is kaffir lime leaves, though; not sure you have access to them (sold in most Asian grocery stores usually in the freezer case) or if you like Thai foods. Will post the link if you are so inclined.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Val

      Or Thai Shrimp Basil, my favorite.

      1. re: Val

        I'd love it! We have a little Asian grocery store less than a mile from our house!

        1. re: thunderbug84

          Someone on this board by the screen name "sel" posted this link for the Thai Basil Chicken ... I cannot imagine using all the hot thai chilies called for in this recipe...we used 2 large jalapenos WITH most of the seeds and it was perfectly hot n' spicy for us, but this is delicious, hopefully chef chicklet will also post her Thai Basil Shrimp, too!

          1. re: Val

            I made it once with the upper limit recommended amount of chiles. One of the few times my XBF actually said food was spicy.

            As for suggestions, wilt the basil leaves in a saute pan with some spinach, squeeze out the water and chop, and make a fritata with sauteed onions.

            1. re: Louise

              Thai Shrimp Basil

              ¾ - 1 lb medium tiger shrimp - serves two hungry adults!

              4 cloves of garlic minced
              1 stalk lemon grass crushed, sliced fine and chopped very fine – tender part only- if none I use grated lime zest and some lime juice.
              1-2 inches grated ginger - galangal root unavailable
              2 T fish sauce or to taste
              3 Thai chilies – Serrano work
              2 T soy sauce
              1 T water
              1 ½ Tsp sugar
              1 medium white onion – sliced thin
              1 cup basil – chopped

              Vegetable oil
              In a med bowl mix the soy, water, fish sauce , lemon grass and sugar – let shrimp marinate 10 minutes

              1.Heat a couple of tablespoons oil in the wok, add the onion and stir fry 2 minutes, add the ginger, garlic and the peppers- cook 30 seconds
              2. Using a slotted spoon remove the shrimp from the marinade and place in the wok stir fry 3 minutes do not completely cook the shrimp
              3. Add the remaining marinade and cook another 30 seconds,
              4. Remove from the wok and stir in the basil – serve over Jasmine rice, Garnish with more basil/

              This is pretty hot. So cut back on the chilies for less heat.

              1. re: chef chicklet

                this looks amazing. I hvae tons of basil too and some big shrimp sitting in my freezer. perfect for dinner tonight. thanks!

        2. re: Val

          Isn't Thai basil a different (albeit related) herb than typical Italian-style basil?

          1. re: BobB

            yep. (see my post below). I don't know how much it differs in flavour but i think it has a more aniseed underbelly...

            1. re: kmh

              I grow thai basil. It is purple-green in appearance, and anise is a good way to describe its flavour. Sort of like anise-basil-spicy-cinnamon. It's easy to grow, like normal basil (although the bugs do seem to prefer it, strangely!). I'd reccomend growing it with vietnamese coriander (tangy-sour-cilantro-like flavour - the bugs HATE this one!). Just a couple of leaves together make an amazing difference to any Asian dish - I use them in Asian soups, salads, noodle and beef dishes. You can probably get seeds online.

              1. re: Gooseberry

                I think I might be growing that basil as well, except mine is called Red Rubin Basil. Do you think they are similar?

                1. re: thunderbug84

                  a quick google on basil varieties indicates that the red rubin basil is purple in colour but MILDER in flavour whilst thai basi has a purplish tinge but is STRONGER in flavour with an aniseed/licorice tone.

                  honestly, unless one has an extremely discerning pallet, just use the stronger flavoured basil (I seriously doubt anyone will know the difference, and if they do, give them a gold star!)

                  enjoy the basil - every time i try to grow it a neighbourhood cat cr@p5 on it or bugs get to it. v. disappointing.

                  again, per my first post, share the love!

            2. re: BobB

              It probably is different, Bob...but there is nowhere for me to buy Thai basil where I live and all I know is that this dish is a knock-out with regular basil, to me, anyway. The Asian store nearby that sells the kaffir lime leaves doesn't sell Thai basil. :0(

          2. Another thing I have done is make a pizza, although instead of red sauce, I drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper and then I layer on the basil leaves "blanketing" the dough

            Then, I top that with cheese and whatever else you like, I like thin slices of tomato and perhaps dried oregano, red pepper flakes, parmesan, etc. It's delicious and the basil layer adds great flavor

            1. It's a nice addition to salads and dips where you would ordinarily use cilantro or parsley. A little chopped basil is nice in a chopped salad, and I make a great avocado dip with plain yogurt, salt, lemon juice, avocado and basil all blended together. It's also a nice addition to things like lemonade.

              1. how about adding the whole leaves to mixed greens? we do this with almost any kind of herb and it just makes ordinary salads a little punchier. I also love basil in omelettes. and you can make some great infused oils or things like that and give them away!

                1. I had this problem too a few years back and one of my readers gave me this tip. Wash the leaves, shake off the water but don't dry them, and spread them on a baking sheet. Freeze them solid. With a blender motor running, drop in the frozen basil chips. Transfer chopped frozen leaves to plastic bags or ice trays. Voila -- frozen plain basil to use in Thai and Vietnamese food, or add to frittatas, soups, etc. when you want a basil flavor, but without the other pesto ingredients.