, Thai lemon basil
or Lao basil
is a hybrid between basil
(Ocimum basilicum) and African basil (Ocimum americanum).
The herb is grown primarily in northeastern Africa and southern Asia for its strong fragrant lemon scent, and is used in cooking.
Lemon basil stems can grow to 20–40 cm tall. It has white flowers in late summer to early fall. The leaves are similar to basil leaves, but tend to be narrower. Seeds form on the plant after flowering and dry on the plant.
Lemon basil is a popular herb in Arabic, Indonesian, Lao, Persian and Thai cuisine.
In Laos, lemon basil is used extensively in Lao curries, stews, and stir-fried dishes as it is the most commonly used type of basil in Laos. Many Lao stews require the use of lemon basil as no other basil varieties are acceptable as substitutes. The most popular Lao stew called or lam uses lemon basil as a key ingredient.
Lemon basil is the only basil used much in Indonesian cuisine, where it is called kemangi. It is often eaten raw with salad or lalap (raw vegetables) and accompanied by sambal. Lemon basil is often used to season certain Indonesian dishes, such as curries, soup, stew and steamed or grilled dishes. In Thailand, Lemon basil, called maenglak, is one of several types of basil used in Thai cuisine. The leaves are used in certain Thai curries and it is also indispensable for the noodle dish khanom chin nam ya. The seeds resemble frog's eggs after they have been soaked in water and are used in sweet desserts.It is also used in North East part of India state Manipur. In Manipur, it is used in curry like pumpkin, used in singju (a form of salad), and in red or green chilli pickles type.
Recipes using Lemon Basil see Here