Friday, April 24, 2009

Basil (My Herbs Garden Series)

I love cooking with basil. I first had the taste of basil when dining in a Thai restaurant. Basil is widely used in Thai cuisine, e.g. in green curry, basil fried chicken/squid.

It is not easy to find basil being sold in the herbs section of our supermarkets. Even in the Subang Jaya SS15 wet market, it was not sold until recently where one stall carries this herb. I used to drive down to PJ Old Town Market to buy it. It was quite a hassle to cook with basil until I got my own plant. My several early attempts in planting basil failed as they wilted due to too much of heat from the sun.

Two months ago, my close friend from Bukit Rimau, Chooi, who has many basil plants growing in her garden gave me two big bunch. These two bunches grow very well and lush. I am so happy that these days I could just go over to my garden and pluck some basil whenever I need them.

Two weeks ago, I got a pot of lemony-fragrant basil from Danny who owns a booth selling potted plants in Amcorp Mall's Flea Market. Please see the photo below. I am not sure what variety of basil is this.


Photo #1 & #2: Basil - Type 1 (I think it is called Thai Basil)

From my past failures in planting basil, I learnt that basil likes well-drained soil and not too much of direct sun. I keep my basil plants under the shade of my taller plants. This protect it from the scorching heat that we are experiencing lately. I also water it twice a day ~ in the morning and evening. Sometimes when the sun is too hot, I find my basil leaves drooped. A quick watering is required in order to save the plant from wilting.


Basil can be planted from seeds or stem-cutting. Keep the seeds found from the flowers. Sow them on the soil. In no time, you can find small shoots growing.





Photo #3 & #4: Basil - Type 2 (I think it is called Lemon Basil)
Its leave has a tinge of refreshing lemon smell. Please correct me if I am wrong.


Thai Basil Chicken is one of my favourite recipes, using basil. It is a simple dish to prepare. I am glad to share the recipe of this dish. Try it out and let me know if you like it.

Some of the ingredients used for Thai Basil Chicken

Ingredients: A few bunches of basil, bird's eye chillies, capsicum, diced chicken fillet, minced garlic, corn flour, soya sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, chicken powder. (I don't use measurements in my cooking. Just an estimate of the quantity, depending on your tastebud.)


Method:

1. Mix diced chicken fillets with soya sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, chicken powder & corn flour & marinade for 20 mins.

2. Slice capsicum. Cut bird's eye chillies into two.

3. Heat up oil. Put in bird's eye chillies. Fry till fragrant. Add garlic. Continue frying. When garlic is fragrant, add marinated diced chicken fillets. Fry till chicken is fragrant and the sauce caramelized (due to the added sugar). The chicken will taste better this way. Then add capsicum slices. Do not fry too long as to retain the crunchiness of the capsicum slices.

4. Lastly, add basil. Remove and serve.

The steam from the basil chicken fogged my camera lens.

Delicious Thai Basil Chicken

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My archive collection of an article on Basil - King of Savoury Herbs by Dr. Chew Boon Hock, taken from Flavours magazine, Issue May - June 2003. Please click on the photos below to link you to a bigger image.


6 comments:

FJL said...

Wow that looks so yummy! Basil sure makes your day :)

Stephanie said...

Hi JC, you cook too? Wow! what amazing talents you have. I am so impressed by the basil that you have planted. I have never thought that it can be planted here. I will try to look out for one next time. Maybe at Amcorp Mall flea market. But I am not always there. See how. Meanwhile, happy gardening and cooking :-)

Stephanie said...

Hi JC, thank you for dropping by my blog and wrote your advice on where to get a basil plant!

islandgal246 said...

I have a big leaf basil growing in my garden, can't remember the name but am going to try your chicken recipe, yum yum. Thanks you.

Ayie said...

good recipe, will try too

Tammy Miu said...

I'm also thinking of growing a herb garden for cooking, I especially like Thai flavored dishes! like the one u made. Makes me..... salivating now..

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