Shrimp in Green Thai Basil Curry Paste

There are all kinds of pastes. Numerous cuisines make use of them. They are the ideal way to store herbs long term. A spoonful can quickly be added to a grain or protein to make something healthy and tasty. In times and places without refrigeration they are essential. The components in a paste are a variety of fresh and dried herbs finely chopped and suspended in a base of vinegar, oil, sugars, or ingredients that will ferment. Pastes can be put in storage for one day or 12 months depending on the preservative qualities present in the ingredients.

Green Curry Paste

1 tsp of dried red chile flakes

1 tsp of ground coriander seeds

1/2 cup of fresh cilantro leaves

1 TBSP of finely chopped fresh ginger root

1 TBSP of of chopped fresh lemon grass

2 large cloves of garlic

2 TBSP of olive oil

2 cups of or two large handfuls of Thai (or any type) basil

Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor until you have a smooth paste.

Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

To a large frying pan add 16 ounces of cooked shrimp (tails and shell removed), 2 TBSP of the green curry paste and 1/2 can of regular coconut milk. Simmer on medium heat until all ingredients are hot and sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, serve with batsmati rice.

Ocimum basilicum

Basil is in the mint family. Typically it is an annual but will overwinter indoors. It is a very common garden herb used as a companion plant and insect repellant. A thin branching root produces several lush square stems growing 1-2 feet high. The leaves can vary from bright to dark green depending on the variety. Some types like Thai basil have purple in their oppositely arranged leaves. Leaves can be oval to spade shaped, toothed or smooth in their margins. Like others in the family, it has lots of small two lipped flowers that grow on racemes/spikes of 2-4 inches. These are a favorite of bumble bees and come in shades of white, red or purple. A distinguishing feature of Ocimum is the smell, similar in all varieties but with slightly different “notes”.

This plant warms, calms, and clears phlegm/damp. It has a pungent/bitter taste with fire as its element. Historically basil has been used to treat all manner of digestive complaints such as cramps, vomiting, constipation, gas, low appetite, diarrhea, bacterial infections and inflammation. It stimulates the flow of breast milk, cures a headache, and calms a bad cough. Ocimum has been used for depression, asthma, retained placenta, fever, anxiety, bronchitis, and fatigue.

Externally it has helped with acne, bug bites, fungal infections, sore muscles, and arthritis. The essential oils/scent make it useful in aromatherapy, ritual bathing/cleansing, beauty products and as incense.

This herb is very popular in many cuisines as a pesto, salad garnish, and spice.

Contraindications: Avoid large/therapeutic doses in pregnancy.

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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