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Can pesto be made with Thai basil (horapha)?

cheesemaestro Jul 14, 2011 02:51 PM

I usually make pesto with regular sweet basil, but I've been growing a huge pot of Thai basil outside and am thinking of using some of it soon for pesto. I'm a little concerned, though, that the pesto may have too much of a licorice-like flavor, since Thai basil is stronger than regular. Has anyone tried this?

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  1. Euonymous RE: cheesemaestro Jul 14, 2011 04:53 PM

    My husband made some the other night using half Thai basil and half regular sweet basil. It came out great!

    1. chefathome RE: cheesemaestro Jul 14, 2011 05:37 PM

      Yes, it can. Perhaps try it with some sweet basil as Euonymous suggested or add a bit of mint.

      1. s
        sarahcooks RE: cheesemaestro Jul 14, 2011 07:04 PM

        I've done a SE Asian version of pesto with thai basil and peanuts and chili. I might have done cilantro and mint too, can't remember.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sarahcooks
          cheesemaestro RE: sarahcooks Jul 15, 2011 07:16 AM

          I like this idea, although this "pesto" would perhaps be better over rice or rice noodles than over Italian pasta. Thanks!

          1. re: cheesemaestro
            MVNYC RE: cheesemaestro Jul 15, 2011 07:35 AM

            I have done something similar to this. Thai basil, cilantro, peanuts, sambal olek, a little sugar and some fish sauce to taste. Works well as a dipping sauce for grilled skewers of meat.

        2. pikawicca RE: cheesemaestro Jul 14, 2011 07:06 PM

          Add an equal amount of spinach.

          1. thew RE: cheesemaestro Jul 15, 2011 07:48 AM

            pesto means paste. same root (also pestle)

            so yes. there are many many pestos besides the now standard basil/nut/cheese/oil/garlic one.

            1. r
              rockycat RE: cheesemaestro Jul 15, 2011 08:09 AM

              You can make pesto with nearly any green and any nut. You can even skip the nuts. I've done a very nice mint pesto with toasted pecans to serve with lamb and use as the base for a vinaigrette. I really like sarahcooks' and MVNYC's ideas. You could also use roasted cashews in place of the peanuts in their recipes. I would leave out the cilantro because I have a strong aversion to it, but otherwise they sound deicious.

              I wonder how something like that would taste stirred into rice...

              1 Reply
              1. re: rockycat
                cheesemaestro RE: rockycat Jul 15, 2011 01:25 PM

                I do know that there are many variations of pesto using different nuts and greens. I've made some of them in the past. The reason I asked the question was to see if a classic Italian pesto would be good with the stronger Thai basil substituting for sweet/Genoese basil, or if the basil component would be too dominant. Like you, I appreciate the advice given to make an Asian-style pesto. I'm going to try this, although I may also experiment with the classic Italian version, following euonymous's recommendation to use half Thai and half regular basil. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions.

              2. o
                odkaty RE: cheesemaestro Jul 15, 2011 01:39 PM

                I grow large quantities of several varieties of basil, and routinely make pesto with just Thai basil. I've tried combining genovese and Thai basils too. It makes a tangier pesto, IMO. I enjoy that, but my husband's not a huge fan so I save it for when he's out of town :-)

                The Asian-style pesto sounds good. I'll have to try that.

                1. c
                  cfb1951 RE: cheesemaestro Aug 27, 2013 01:40 PM

                  Just heard about a recipe using Thai basil, coconut oil and cashews. Great on fish or rice noodles.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cfb1951
                    fldhkybnva RE: cfb1951 Aug 27, 2013 03:46 PM

                    Wow that sounds great, I have some Thai basil on hand so might have to give it a try.

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