Culinary herbs make a healthy life: introducing Basil

By Seangnay Kheang​​ | on Wednesday 9 August 2017​

Healthy herbs have long held an important place in our holistic well-being. Prized since ancient times, and even today, we depend on them more than ever to purify our body, mind, and soul.

According to Wikipedia , herbs have a variety of uses including culinary, medicinal, and in some cases, spiritual. The term “herb” differs between culinary herbs and medicinal herbs. In medicinal or spiritual use, any of the parts of the plant might be considered herbs, including the leaves, roots, flowers, seeds, resin and pericarp.

People use herbs in their daily life in one way or an another. Whether it’s for their pleasant flavour, for their healing power, or to add to lovely recipes, the benefits of herbs are many. Herbs are handy and meet all sorts of needs: spiritual reasons, to spice up the taste buds, or as a home remedy for ailments like colds and flu.

Although herbs have been used in the human diet since antiquity, only recently have they taken centre stage in the world of science and nutrition for their health benefits and detoxification properties. Herbs and spice, indeed, extend their flavour and impact beyond just the foods we eat.

Culinary herbs and their uses 

Herbs are a great addition to food. It is not just because they add distinctive flavour and spicy taste to the food, but also because they contain antimicrobial substances that help keep our food protected. Usually, chefs smear herbs and spice mixtures in the form of marinades over raw foods, fish, and meat.

Here are some serving tips for using herbs:

  •  Fresh herb leaves can be used in the preparation of soups and green sauces.
  •  Chopped, fresh herb leaves can impart richness to the vegetable as well as fruit salads.
  •  Along with other spicy items, selective healthy herbs can be used to enhance the flavour and taste of vegetables, chicken, fish, and lean meat dishes.
  • Some herbs and plant parts like mint, and ginger are increasingly being used to flavour juices and refreshing drinks.

Basil

Basil is a popular herb with a mild and sweet flavour. Its name means ‘king’ in Greek. It is rightly called this because many culinary experts consider it a royal herb. Used primarily for its aroma, basil is used a lot in Asia and other international cuisines. While freshly plucked basil adds fragrance to the dish, it is dried basil leaves that actually contribute to the taste.

There are many types of basil in the world and the following are just some that are widely known:                                     basil

Sweet Basil: One of the most common varieties of basil that is used in tomato-based dishes and Italian cuisine.

152Lemon Basil: Found mostly in Asia and northeastern Africa and is used predominantly in Thai cuisine.

Thai basil is a different variety from its sweet Italian cousin. The Thai variety has a spicier, bolder flavor and its aroma leans toward anise. (Thinkstock)

Thai Basil: Identified with its purple stem and flowery green leaves, Thai basil has a mint-like flavour.

Holy Basil: Also known as ‘Tulsi’, Holy basil is grown in most South East Asia homes and has many medicinal qualities.

Health benefits of basil

Herbs not only add extra taste to the food but also bring benefits to the health as well.

  • Ensures oxygen carrying capacity in blood
  • Rich source of powerful antioxidants
  • Helps control blood pressure

Popular basil dishes 

Pesto, Basil tea, Tomato Basil soup, Basil pasta salad, fruit salad and margarita pizza etc.

mozzarella-basil-and-tomato-pasta-salad-jpg

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