Chia seeds, now classified among the top superfoods, is widely used in a lot of recipes from smoothies to desserts and even in cakes as a binding agent. But this post is not about the already famous chia! So no, I didn't get the title wrong! It's about a similar seed which are basil seeds. The latter look very much like chia seeds and also swells in water to form a gelatinous coating.
Basil seeds are more popular in the Mediterranean and Asia where they are mostly used in juices and desserts. They are popular in Mauritius too, where I grew up.
Well, unlike chia, basil seeds haven't yet made the hit among the 'super duper' foods. I kind of chuckle at these food classifications anyway. The thing is these superfoods are actually normal food consumed by some communities around the world as part of their usual diet until some company decides to make them the next big thing and start praising about their amazing benefits to make a business out of it... Well, then prices go up...
Chia does have its benefits, I'm not denying that but I am more so referring on the overpricing of superfoods in general...
Back to the basil seeds then, I've been used to having basil seeds (also known as tukmaria) in flavoured milk since I was a kid, what we call 'Alouda' in Mauritius (Falooda in other parts of the world). I have a recipe of it on this blog here (scroll down this post).
Despite this seed being a regular part of my diet I have never really researched on its benefits or side effects. Apparently there are no reported side effects from consuming basil seeds (unless if you might be allergic to them...). As for their benefits, according to this website, they aid in digestion, can treat cold, cure respiratory diseases, can relieve stress and are good for treatment of skin infection.
Well, in any case, I remember basil seeds to be a very fun thing to eat or drink as a kid. Their jelly coating would make them slip around the teeth and I would make it a challenge to bit through the tiny seeds! While I still do enjoy these seeds in flavoured milk (now non-dairy), I now also include them in my smoothies. They add some protein, since I'm allergic to nuts and various seeds. The basil seeds don't seem to give me any trouble.
And basil seeds are cheap! So just grab some and try them out. I get them at the local Asian store.
Here's a refreshing Cucumber Peach Smoothie with Basil Seeds:
Ingredients (serves one)
1/2 cup green cucumber, cut into small pieces (peel if not organic)
1 sweet ripe peach (peeled)
1 - 2 dates, pitted (or 1 - 2 tablespoons maple syrup)
2 - 3 mint leaves
Enough coconut milk to dilute (I use the carton coconut milk that is suitable for tea, not the canned ones. Other non-dairy like oat or almond milk is also fine)
1 teaspoon dry basil seeds
- Cover the basil seeds with about 4 - 5 tablespoons water and allow them to soak.
- Stir them a bit, then you can discard any seeds or dirt that remains floating at the top.
The seeds will soak up the water and swell with a jelly coating around them.
- Blend all other ingredients together, except the basil seeds, until smooth.
- Stir in the basil seeds (do not blend, leave them whole).
The smoothie is ready to be served.