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Old 10-22-2020, 02:12 PM   #1
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What Asian food can I use Lemon Basil in?

Hello, I'm a Western person who loves asian food and cooks alot of asian mostly spicy thai food.

i started to grow my own basil couple months ago as due to covid it was hard to get the herbs. i started to grow 3 different types of basil, Sweet basil, Holy basil and Lemon basil. i know alot of reciepes for Sweet basil and Holy basil but i can't find anything special to use the Lemon basil for.

The plan was to switch the Keef lime leaves with lemon basil but i can't quite get the taste i want only using lemon basil in Thai green curry. So i though about asking on internet for reciepes where i can use the Lemon basil.

Anyone know any asian reciepes i can use Lemon basil for as im getting to much lemon basil from the grow but not much reciepes to use it for.

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Old 10-22-2020, 02:21 PM   #2
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Why not try adding lemon basil to a recipe rather than using it to replace another ingredient. It might make a delicious difference.
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Old 10-22-2020, 02:47 PM   #3
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Why not try adding lemon basil to a recipe rather than using it to replace another ingredient. It might make a delicious difference.
Well the idea was to replace it because its easier for me to grow lemon basil then its to buy lime leaves due to covid, and specialy after the local asian store got shutdown. then the only option is to grow lime leaves which requires alot of heat or get it shipped which would be expensive due to toll and shipping. So thats why ive been trying to replace the Lime leaves with lemon basil.
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Old 10-22-2020, 04:12 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum!

I know what you mean - lemon basil does not replace the flavor of the lime leaves, though that, and maybe a little lime zest will get you a decent flavor, though nothing really replaces the kaffir lime leaves. I remember this happened here many years ago, when they outlawed the import of lime leaves to the US, due to citrus diseases. So I had to start growing one, which is now 18 years old! So is there anywhere you get the plants over there? I got that one back then in spring, with 6 leaves, and in just when it had to come indoors, in about 6 months, it was up to 80 leaves. Something to think about, in the spring, if there is any source that you could get one from. It is easy to grow - just re-pot every 3 years, and bring inside in the cold weather.

Many Malaysian dishes have lemon basil, with no lime leaves, and are very good on their own. I grew lemon basil a few times, but it bolted on me far more than other basils, even in the hydroponics, which usually slows them up. But it does have a great flavor, and I tried succession planting them, so I would have less of them bolting, but that was too much trouble.
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Old 10-22-2020, 07:13 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum!

I know what you mean - lemon basil does not replace the flavor of the lime leaves, though that, and maybe a little lime zest will get you a decent flavor, though nothing really replaces the kaffir lime leaves. I remember this happened here many years ago, when they outlawed the import of lime leaves to the US, due to citrus diseases. So I had to start growing one, which is now 18 years old! So is there anywhere you get the plants over there? I got that one back then in spring, with 6 leaves, and in just when it had to come indoors, in about 6 months, it was up to 80 leaves. Something to think about, in the spring, if there is any source that you could get one from. It is easy to grow - just re-pot every 3 years, and bring inside in the cold weather.

Many Malaysian dishes have lemon basil, with no lime leaves, and are very good on their own. I grew lemon basil a few times, but it bolted on me far more than other basils, even in the hydroponics, which usually slows them up. But it does have a great flavor, and I tried succession planting them, so I would have less of them bolting, but that was too much trouble.
Yeah i can buy a 30cm plant from a online store, i might actually do that to be honest, wasnt so expensive either for a plant. about 20$ for a 30cm live plant.

Do you know if they require a good grow lamp? Im growing the basil indoors with a grow lamp as its cold where i live for another 6-8 months.

And yeah about lemon basil, ive got more lemon basil then i know what to use it for. i probably planted about 20 lemon basil seeds and 10-15 of them survived. i was hoping it would work to replace lime leaves but so far it havent worked out.

But il look up malaysian reciepes and hopefully i can find a dish i like from there i can use the lemon basil for because i have more then i need of that sort, should have planted less of it and more of sweet basil that i use alot. Do you know of any good malaysian reciepes with lemon basil?

i like food with alot of flavour in it as local Norwegian food where i live i feel its to simple and boring food, just salt and pepper in most dishes.
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Old 10-22-2020, 10:10 PM   #6
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sinder That's great that you can get a kaffir lime plant there, and so cheap, for that size! As I said, they are easy to grow, and I only have mine sitting in front of a south facing window, with no extra light needed. They are inside about half of the year here - as soon as it's hinting to get into the 30s, I bring them inside, though I have read that they can withstand a slight frost. And when my peppers go out to plant, they go out - when it's in the 50s for good, but that's because I'm usually doing that when my curry tree goes out, and it likes it warmer.

Early on, you probably would only need about a 5 or 6 gal pot, and I've found those fabric "self pruning" pots work well with these. I use a mix of peat and coir, plus about 15% work castings, and about 25% perlite, to help it drain well. For fertilizing, I use some of the hydroponics nutrients I have for vegetative growth, but you can use anything that is higher in N, which you probably have from growing the basils. Or maybe you could use one of those organic citrus fertilizers, if they have those there. Something I always have to do, which you probably do, too, growing indoors - water it initially with some Bt israelensis, to prevent fungus gnats! Since you will want to be keeping this moist, and not drying out (if leaves drop, you know it needs water!), I assume those little things can show up in your area. If you can't find the liquid, grind up some of those mosquito dunks - I assume they have those there - and mix about 1/4 of one in the surface 2 inches or so of the pot.

These things start growing incredibly fast, but it will be at least 3 years, maybe more, in the beginning, that they will need re-potted, and I didn't put them in larger pots until maybe 6 or 7 years, when I got 7 gal pots. When re-potting, they need to be root-pruned, some early on, but a lot when they get older. Some people feel squirmish about cutting all those roots out, but after this, just like when I trim up top, the plants get incredible new growth on them!

The only pest I've had with these, and I think it is due to the stress from when I hadn't re-potted them (and the curry tree, at the same time) in time, and they were horribly rootbound, was scale, which I watch for on the undersides of the leaves. Now, I also watch for ants - as with aphids, ants "farm" scale insects, for the honeydew they secrete. Before bringing them indoors, I spray the plants and the soil with neem oil, then the soil with some "orange oil" - an organic spray, which I don't spray on the leaves, as I've had them burn from it. But this seems to get rid of things that got into the soil, in the course of the summer.

I think Norway is where my Dad's family came from originally - that sounds like his way of eating! lol In his later years he started trying different foods, but only because he and Mom went out to eat all the time! Only so much I could do!

My favorite Malaysian cookbook (as well as that of Singapore and Indonesia) is Cradle Of Flavor, by James Oseland. This is the book that got me growing lemon basil, as well as curry leaves! One unusual thing about most Malaysian food - instead of fish sauce, their source for this umami flavor is shrimp paste. Some people I've known had a hard time cooking with it, but always ate the foods I made with it! It's also used in Thai curry pastes, and when a friend substituted anchovy paste, it was good, but not as good as curry paste with the shrimp paste.

Google Malaysian lemon basil and you'll get some recipes with the lemon basil - you'll have to go through them, of course, to find the best sounding ones! Good luck!
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Old 10-22-2020, 10:36 PM   #7
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I forgot to show you some photos of these plants, first one after being outside since May, the second after a huge trimming (trimmed the large one even more, later on):
Two kaffir limes and the bay laurel, before trimming, 10-04 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

3 severely trimmed plants, getting them ready to go inside for the cold season. 10-4 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

I learned early on, when trimming those large branches it is best to put some pruning paint, or shellac, over them, to seal. Before doing this, I noticed that some of these cut branches would start turning brown slowly, from the cut, inward. When sealed, they didn't do this.

The only reason I have 2 plants (one will provide far more than even I can use!) is that I tried air-layering the first one, when it was about 8 years old, and got another plant out of it, after about 7 months! I did this before another way - I grew a second plant by attempting to root many cuttings, and finally got one! It was about 2 years old when I sold it (actually, traded it, for a bunch of items) to a lady and her husband who had a Thai grocery/deli, who loved getting those leaves as needed! No other place like that around anymore.
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Old 10-23-2020, 06:21 PM   #8
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There are several Thai and Vietnamese recipes that use both basil and lemongrass. Try replacing the regular or Thai basil in the recipe with lemon basil.
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