I love fresh herbs. I generally have basil and Italian parsley on hand at all times because we use it enough and we love the fresh taste. We've had a basil plant in our apartment since I can remember. It started in Washington DC when we named our plant George, and now we're on George X or something like that. Herb plants are inexpensive and grow well in your home. I bought our basil plant at a farmer's market for $6 and we've been using it since early October... so if you figure that you generally pay $1.99 for fresh herbs at the store, buy a plant and it will pay for itself in only a few uses. We try to buy large basil plants so that we can use them every week or so. But I warn you, using fresh herbs all the time may turn you into an herb snob. Some dishes turn out perfectly whether you use fresh or dried herbs, but for many recipes it can make or break the flavor.
I use our basil most often for Thai Green Curry. It's quite possibly my favorite dish, and maybe the only one that I really crave. The fresh basil makes all the difference. It's basically the recipe on the curry paste bottle, but with a few modifications. It's one of those recipes that make your house smell amazing. I crave this recipe on a regular basis.
We eat it over jasmine rice with Indian naan bread on the side (I know I know, mixing genres, but it's amazing to dip the naan in the curry sauce. mmmmmm.)
THAI GREEN CURRY- 2 cans coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon green curry paste (start with two teaspoons and go from there
if you don't like food to be spicy. You can find it in the International Foods aisle
at most grocery stores)
- 1-2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
- Brown sugar, to taste (this depends on how sweet you like it- most recipes call
for 2 TBSP, but I think we use about 1/3 of a cup. We love it sweet)
- 1 cup cooked chicken
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 can of bamboo shoots (found next to water chestnuts at the store)
- 1 bell pepper, cut in long strips (we generally use 1/2 green and 1/2 red pepper)
Pour coconut milk into a large pan (or a pot would work if you don't have a stir fry-sized pan) on medium. Add curry paste and basil and bring to a simmer. Next add the brown sugar, chicken broth, chicken, and bamboo shoots and simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir often. Add the bell pepper and simmer for another five minutes.
Serve over jasmine rice.NAAN BREAD:
I use Emeril Lagasse's recipe HERE, again with a few modifications. We do not add the 1/4 cup butter- I accidentally omitted it once and we liked it better without it. Also, we generally butter both sides with a brush and then fry our naan on a skillet because it takes about half the time.
ps. This meal look SO festive, and the sauce tastes amazing over asparagus.