Hutchinson Farm Herb Guide
Thai Basil
Thai Basil
Photo:  Thai Basil, Hutchinson farmhouse garden, David MacTavish, July 4th 2014.
Grown at Hutchinson Farm since 2005. Available May 2018, in 4" pots and planters. Fresh cut bunches available July - Sept.

  • Description
    Ocimum basilicum 
    var. thyrsiflora
    Winter Hardiness: annual
    Light Requirements: Sun, part sun
    Height: 14 - 18"
    Habit: Upright
    Where to plant: In well drained soil or containers

  • In the Garden
    The plant itself is beautiful: 1 - 2" long green leaves with purple stems, and tall spires of pale lavender blossoms. Grow it for eating or beautifying your garden. 
    Insects think it's yummy too, so plant in containers on your deck away from the garden to reduce insect damage. Harvest top down, cutting off the blooms to promote branching. Extremely frost sensitive.

  • In the Kitchen
    Essential in Thai cuisine, the strong anise flavours and aromas are distinct -don't substitute for sweet basil! Very similar in flavour to French tarragon.

  • Harvest
    Grab a small clump, and cut off with scissors. Watch out for grass sneaking in!
    Preserve: best used fresh.

  • Recipes
    Classically used with chicken.

    Thai Basil Chicken (pad kra pao gai)
    Serves 4

    4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
    5 cloves garlic
    1-2 chiles (we substitute seranos for thai chiles)
    1 tbsp olive oil
    1 tbsp oyster sauce
    1 tsp soya sauce
    1 cup loosely packed Thai basil leaves (about 1/2 a bunch)

    Cut chicken into bite size pieces
    Finely chop garlic and chiles
    Heat oil in pan

    Once oil is hot, add garlic and chiles, stir until fragrant, less than a minute.
    Add chicken, and keep stirring until it is cooked.
    Add oyster and soya sauce
    Stir and remove from heat
    Stir in Thai basil
    Serve with rice