Thankfully, I have a nice shop close to my place, which sells a small kit made of essential thai herbs. Its called as the Thai kit, but for a frugal housewife like me, its pretty expensive. Yet, since both of us like thai food, I do make sure I get this thai kit sometimes, when I go to this shop. They also sell many fresh herbs like sage, parsley, italian basil, thai basil, thyme, rosemary etc.
This time when I went there I picked up a pack of fresh Thai Basil – Bai Horapa in Thai language. It has a sweet taste and flavor. The aroma of Thai Basil is amazing and reminded me of the Indian basil (sabja) plant which I have seen growing at my grand mom’s place. Basically, it is from the same herb family, but a different specie.
By the way, we used to have the sabja seeds (basil seeds) in the cool rose and rooh afzha drinks in the indian hot summer. I also think we are all familiar about using these basil seeds in falooda.
Its ages, I have not had nor made falooda at home. The basil seeds reduce body heat and I think that since the temperature is rising in the area I stay, I should start using the basil seeds.
The Thai basil has greenish leaves but the stems, new leaves and flowers have a purple color. See the pic below. I still have a lot of them left at home and will use them in making thai veg red curry. It infuses such a wonderful aroma in your food, that once you like it, you will try to include it in many other recipes you make. Read more about Thai Basil here.
OK….. enough of my blah blah. Moving on to the recipe now…. I checked so many recipes on the internet for making thai basil stir fry….. that I got fed up. Most of them used fish sauce and shrimp paste and there were many made with chicken, beef etc, etc, etc.
Finally, I came up with my own feeling and intuition to make this stir fry recipe. I do not know if it is authentically Thai or not. I liked it so much that I will keep on making this recipe again and again. This Thai Basil Veg Stir Fry Recipe is here to stay.
It had a lovely texture as different veggies were added along with tofu, a lovely color and an awesome taste.
In this thai basil recipe I have added, some of the typical ingredients that are used in Thai cuisine:
Thai Chilies – Prik Kee Nuu in Thai or Bird’s eye chili
Thai Basil Leaves
Yes……… no galangal, no kaffir lime leaves, no lemon grass stem….and no fish paste or shrimp paste….
Since I have not used fish sauce or shrimp paste, I have used dark soy sauce. Instead of Thai Chillies, you could also use fresh green chillies and instead of thai basil leaves, you could use the regular basil leaves.
I have used extra firm silken tofu, but you can use regular tofu. If you want, you could fry or saute the tofu first and then add it to the veg stir fry. You could also use our own indian paneer instead of tofu. You could use your own choice of vegetables for the stir fry.
Thai Basil Vegetable Stir Fry with Tofu: Serves 3-4
Preparation Time: 15-20 mins
Cooking Time: 20-25 mins
For the stir fry:
- 5-6 stalks of scallions, chopped
- 3-4 small carrots, cut into roundels
- 7-8 button mushrooms, chopped
- 9-10 baby corns, sliced or chopped
- 1 block of silken tofu, cut into cubes
- 2 tbsp roasted or fried cashew nuts
- 2 tsp roasted sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp coconut oil or sesame seed oil or any vegetable oil
- 1 cup chopped thai basil
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp brown sugar
For the stir fry paste:
- 1/4 tsp peppercorns
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 6-7 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 thai chillies
Method to make Thai Basil Vegetable Stir Fry with Tofu:
- First of all clean and chop all your veggies and keep aside.
- In your mortar and pestle, take the ingredients for making the paste.
- Crush, crush, crush and make a coarse paste…. you will need a little muscle power to do this activity
- Heat up the kadai or wok. Add the oil and let it become hot. Add the coarse paste and fry it for a few seconds on a high or medium heat, taking care it does not burn. Immediately add the veggies and stir fry. You could stir fry on a medium heat.
- In the meantime slice the tofu and keep aside.
- Keep on stir frying for 7-8 minutes. Now add the dark soy sauce, brown sugar, tofu and sesame seeds. You cannot see the soy sauce and brown sugar in the pic below as I added them first and then the tofu. The tofu covered them all.
- Stir fry for 6-7 minutes more. Now add the chopped basil leaves.
- Stir fry till the leaves just become soft… thats it…. takes about 1 or 1.5 minutes. Check for salt. Add more if required. Garnish with roasted cashew nuts.
- Serve immediately with rice or noodles. Whilst serving you could garnish it with some thai basil leaves or the scallion greens.
Few points for this thai veg basil recipe:
While stir frying, the mushrooms will leave water, but still continue to stir fry. On high or medium heat, eventually the liquids will evaporate. To get a varied texture, you could use different varieties of mushroom in the recipe.
This recipe is spicy and hot. So have it with something very mild and non spicy like plain boiled rice or plain noodles. Some of the recipe was left over and later we had it with our regular chapatis.
I have always had problem handling silken tofu. It is so soft and slippery. Chop it carefully. Even when I was stir frying the mixture, the extra firm silken tofu was breaking. So I had to be extra careful while I was stir frying…. taking care that the tofu does not break into pieces. I have never had this issue with regular tofu.
Actually, I was suppose to make this recipe in sesame oil only. Both my coconut oil and sesame oil bottles are from the same manufacturing company, and they look same.
I thought, I was adding sesame oil, but in actuality, I was adding coconut oil. When I realised, I added coconut oil, I was like…. how could I do this? To balance the error, I added the sesame oil too. So my veg stir fry recipe was made in both coconut and sesame oil.
In retrospect, I think adding coconut oil was not a mistake. The recipe had a subtle coconut flavor to it. If you want a slight gravy and more coconut taste and flavor, you could add some coconut milk or coconut cream to this recipe.
Thai Basil Vegetable Stir Fry with Tofu recipe details are below: