Growing out Botanical Interests’ Holy Basil

One of my favorite Thai dishes is ka prao gai (holy basil chicken.) I typically make this minced chicken with Thai basil. However, the authentic version is made with ‘Thai Holy Basil.’ Naturally, I prefer to grow my own. As it turned out, tracking down the exact seeds and germinating ka prao (Thai holy basil) ended up being an unexpected quest. In this quest, I learned that “Holy Basil” is as known as “Tulsi” in India. Holy basil or tulsi or sacred basil are general terms for four types of basil: Kapoor, Krishna, Rama, and Vana. The next part of the quest was to figure out which of those for is ka prao. The internet had limited information and I was not very good at decoding what is there. I then turned to the brut force method– grow them all out. Based on pictures, the one I sought has asymmetric leaves.

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‘Rama’ aka’Ka Prao’ sprouts

I started on this quest last year and I finally found and successfully germinated the holy basil used in ka prao gai. The plants are still growing and I plan to do a post about it. Please stay tuned.

In the meantime, this post is about how it is neat to find that one of my favorite seed companies is now offering (as of the 2016 growing year) Holy Basil. IMG_9715

There is not specific details of the exact variety of holy basil on the seed packet. The illustration is a little ambiguous as the plant depicted can look like Kapoor or Vana. Curious to know the exact variety, I wanted to grow it out and see for myself.

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Tulsi ready for transplanting.

Here they are. Having growing this particular variety of holy basil before, I notice a few giveaways right off the bat. The first one is that it is quick bolting. The second is that it smells like bubblegum. So which is it already?? It is… drum roll.. Kapoor!

If you will like to learn a little more about holy basil, check out my video below.

2 Comments

  • Lisa

    January 19, 2018

    Baker Creek Seeds has several Thai basils and one is listed as Basil, Thai Holy “Kaprao” #HB142
    A popular herb in Thai cuisine. The fragrant purplish-green leaves can be used in potpourri and it has a spicy, sweet, clove-like flavor. A religious herb of the Hindus.

    Reply
    • BrianT

      March 9, 2018

      Thank you for sharing, Lisa.

      Reply

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