Thai Basil Curry

Thai Basil is an alternative to traditional basil that we are accustomed to seeing in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. To me it tastes a little less sweet and with a heavier fennel-ey vibe. It's often found in your local hardware store in the Spring when the herbs pop out fo planting. And, it's just as simple to grow as regular basil, whether in a sunny window pot or in the ground. It's a little trickier to find in your average grocery store but can often be found in your local Asian markets or specialty stores.
In any case, Thai basil definitely kicks up your Thai cooking arsenal. Enjoy it here paired with tangy lemon and zesty curry spices with just the right amount of creaminess from the coconut milk. Easily swap tofu for grilled chicken strips or other preferred protein.
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Servings 8 people


  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 3 stalks celery , chopped with leaves removed
  • 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or less if you prefer milder)
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • couple dashes cinnamon
  • 1 red bell pepper , sliced
  • 1 zucchini squash , halved and sliced in half-moon shapes
  • 1 yellow squash , halved and sliced in half-moon shapes
  • 1 brick extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk (light) (about 2/3 of 1 can)
  • 4 cups spinach leaves
  • salt , to taste if desired
  • 1 1/3 cup dry brown rice , prepared according to package and set aside

For Sauce

  • 2 lemons , juiced (about 1/2 cup juice)
  • 2 inch piece of ginger root , peeled and minced
  • 1 medium turmeric root , peeled and chopped (or substitute 1 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup packed washed Thai basil leaves


  • Heat oil in large saute pan or wok over medium heat. Add garlic, celery and onion, tossing to coat. Stir fry for 4-5 minutes, until onion turns translucent.
    Add spices and cook for 1-2 minutes while stirring to prevent burning.
    Add remaining veggies (except for spinach) and tofu, along with 1/2 cup veggie broth. Stir fry 5-7 minutes or until veggies are bright and tender and tofu is golden brown.
    Meanwhile, add sauce ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse until well combined. Once veggies are cooked, add sauce, coconut milk and spinach to pan.
    Stir often until spinach wilts and sauce is well distributed 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve overtop brown rice.
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