Thai basil ‘Horapa’ in Thai is one of those ingredients that make a huge difference and one that the Thai cuisine would not be Thai without it, after all it’s called Thai basil…
The role of Thai basil is to add a herbal anise like aroma that adds freshness and perfumes dishes. In the case of warm dishes such as curries or stir-fries, it should be added after the heat source is turned off and then be blended it into the dish, letting the leaves wilt a bit but retain the aroma. The leaves would turn black if not folded into the dish’s mass and would lose the fragrance very quickly if heated for too long.
Thai basil is also added fresh to salads and relishes.
Thai basil isn’t interchangeable with sweet basil the variety used in Italian cuisine. Also, one must not confuse Thai basil with Holy basil, so look carefully what the dish calls for as the flavors and aromas are vastly different.