Deutsch: Basilikum / Indian: Tulasi
Basil, originally from South East Asia, but thoroughly familiar to Theophrastus and Dioscorides, is a half-hardy annual plant, best known as a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in Southeast Asian cuisines of Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and the cuisine of Taiwan. Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell.

In the food context, basil refers to an aromatic herb that is used for its fresh, sweet, and slightly peppery flavor. Basil is commonly used in Mediterranean, Thai, and Italian cuisine, and is often used fresh or dried. Here are some examples of how basil is used in cooking:

  1. Caprese Salad: A simple salad made with fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, and basil leaves, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

  2. Pesto Sauce: A classic Italian sauce made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. It is often used as a pasta sauce or as a spread on bread or sandwiches.

  3. Tomato Sauce: A classic Italian sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, and basil. It is often used as a sauce for pasta or pizza.

  4. Thai Basil Chicken: A spicy and flavorful stir-fry made with chicken, Thai basil, chilies, and garlic.

  5. Tomato and Basil Soup: A creamy soup made with pureed tomatoes, cream, and fresh basil.

Similar herbs to basil include:

  1. Oregano: An herb with a slightly bitter and earthy flavor that is often used in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine. It is often used dried in dishes like pizza and tomato sauce.

  2. Thyme: An herb with a slightly sweet and savory flavor that is often used in Mediterranean and French cuisine. It is often used fresh or dried in soups, stews, and roasted meats.

  3. Rosemary: An herb with a strong and slightly piney flavor that is often used in Mediterranean and Italian cuisine. It is often used fresh or dried in roasted meats and vegetables.

  4. Mint: An herb with a fresh and cooling flavor that is often used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. It is often used fresh in salads, drinks, and desserts.

  5. Cilantro: An herb with a bright and citrusy flavor that is often used in Mexican, Thai, and Indian cuisine. It is often used fresh in salsas, guacamole, and curries.

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