Basil Seed Drink with Honey

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The other day Mike and I were doing some shopping at a local Arabic market.  Mike likes to go for the hot foods served there (and the meats – namely, the lamb), but I like to go and look around.  I could literally stay for hours poring over everything if he’d let me.  Not to mention that you can usually find spices for a fraction of the price at stores like this!

bottle-smallAs I was looking around, this drink immediately caught my eye.  I had never heard of basil seed before, but I liked the way the seeds were suspended mid-liquid.  The pretty little basil seed bubbles floating around reminded me of bubble tea, which was one of my favorite indulgences in college (there was a cute little bubble tea shop near my university).

img_7691-smallI got the drink home and couldn’t wait to taste it.  The seeds felt like squishy little balls, actually very similar to tapioca balls in bubble tea or even grapes without their skin.  The seeds tasted sweet and almost banana-y, and the liquid was thick and syrupy-sweet.  I was surprised to find that the drink didn’t taste or smell like basil at all.  Overall, it was a little too sweet for me, but I’m glad I tried it and I would drink it again if a sweet tooth called for it. 

img_7702-smallIf you try this drink I highly recommend 2 things:  (1) use a straw to drink it (the little basil bubbles are just better like that ;) ), and (2)  add ice (it tastes much better very cold and also as the ice melts it helps to dilute the drink’s super-sweetness).

img_7712-smallThe funny thing is that this drink was sold in an Arabic market but it says it was made in Thailand and I’m pretty sure it’s an Asian (not Arabic) drink.  Does anyone know anything else about it?

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Comments

  1. says

    I’m not 100% sure, but I think it’s an Asian drink. Haven’t had the drink, but recently at a family gathering (we’re Vietnamese) the dessert was a cold basil seed soup (with other “chunkies” and fruits mixed in). I didn’t know what those little suspended specks were, but my mom clued me in that it was basil seed. Definitely on the sweeter side of sweet, so you’re not wrong there!

  2. says

    It reminds me of bubble tea as well. I posted a bubble tea recipe last year…and got those fat straws to suck up the tapioca. Looks like you need those straws for this drink too!
    However, I am not familiar with basil seed at all. Hope you find your answer!

  3. says

    I have a Thai friend who uses it as a mixer for vodka! Even mixed with vodka it’s a little too sweet for me, but it definitely has an interesting flavor!

  4. says

    sadly, i have yet to even try bubble tea, so i would have no idea how this must feel in the mouth. i’ll bet it’s even better–all those tiny little nubbins swishing around in there. neat find!

  5. says

    I’ve never heard of basil seeds! Is it actually made from basil? I’ll have to look for it at the Asian store because we don’t have an Arabic store here. I love bubble tea, too! We used to have a cute little shop in our college town, too :)

  6. says

    Uh….that reminds me way too much of chia seeds…and chia seeds reminds me of bugs…eek! Sounds interesting, and I would give it a try, albeit warily!

  7. says

    You are a very brave lady! I’m not sure I could drink this being that I can’t even have boba. Something about the little seeds that makes me nervous. :)

    Ignore me, I have mental problems!

  8. says

    This is avery popular drink in Malaysia. Back home, pink grenadine syrup and evaporated milk and ice are added. It’s very refreshing, cooling and delicious….great for that type of sizzling weather.

  9. says

    Bubble tea lovers UNITE! that stuff is the best.

    This sounds seriously delicious (maybe once watered down). I definitely want to try it!

  10. says

    In a million years, I don’t think I would have tried this. You are brave. Now, I would love to drink this since you blogged about it. You have to have the courage for those who are like me and don’t easily try new foods.

    This is pretty with the bubbles and now I hope I come across it.

  11. says

    I also love pouring over store shelves in ethnic markets–I’m fascinated by imported products like this! This sounds very interesting. I wonder if adding some lemon or lime juice would have helped with the sweetness. It looks very refreshing with the ice & the straw!

  12. says

    Saw your profile on another page. Glad I read your informative and well-written blog. Look forward to following you here. Have a great night. Cheers!

  13. says

    oh yum! I never knew those were basil seeds! :O

    They have that a lot in Iran, its sort of like substitute for lemonade at times. its overly sweet cause theres rose water in it! (or there should be anyways:P)

    I saw this in tastespotting and it reminded me of how much I loved it when I was a kid! I should dig up a recipe…:)

  14. says

    yum! growing up my mom used to make this drink all the time (we’re vietnamese)…very refreshing and lots of fun! i’ve never tried it pre-made in a bottle, my mom used to buy the dry seeds and make the drink from that!

  15. says

    My Vietnamese friend turned me on to this. She buys the seeds dry and puts them in a pitcher of water, then will either drink just like that or do half basil water, half vitamin water. Amazing! Good to rehydrate apparently.

  16. gardener kev says

    I grow basil and have HEAPS so I’m thinkin I might try this, can anyone post a recipe? also, does it matter the type of basil? I have cinnamon and anise basils and was wondering if that would affect the flavor…

    • admin says

      Gardener Kev, I think it’s a great idea to try your hand at making this! Unfortunately I don’t have a recipe…hopefully someone out there can help! :)

      • says

        My recipe makes a slightly different drink, but it’s along the same idea.

        1T Basil seeds (I use sweet basil from my garden)
        Sprigs of Sweet Basil (Amount according to taste, mint can be substituted)
        2C boiling water
        Honey to taste

        Add sprigs of basil or peppermint to water and let steep.
        Strain tea to remove leaves.
        Add seeds and stir in honey.
        Seeds will quickly expand
        Serve warm or chilled.
        Enjoy!

  17. says

    This drink is really popular in Pakistan. It has several different uses- It is had with ice cold coconut water to cure upset stomachs; it is also had with cold milk and rose syrup as a refreshing drink. It can be turned into a fun treat for kids, too. When we were young, my aunt would take an ice tray fill each little section with lemonade (lemon juice, water and a dash of honey) a piece of water melon and basil seeds and then stick it in the freezer- it would make a delicious, healthy treat!

  18. Jojo says

    It’s very famous in thailand! It’s an herb seeds and u can get from the sweet basil plants.or a store. Its rich in vitamins, low calories, help u if u are on diet and it also help u if u can’t do your business in the morning too! Mix 2teaspoon of the seed in a glass of water over 30 mins, drink it at night or bed time.make sure that it really expand before u drink it otherwise it could get clog in your intestine and make it worse becuz it gets expand in your body instead of in your cup. I added a teaspoon of a dark brown sugar which gives u only 11kilocaleries. I’m actually drinking it right now, and didn’t wait until its big enough! Now I’m feeling so tight in my chest! Not good, not good! Then u have to drink tons of water afterwards! I’m telling u it will drag down all your old poo poo from last year! Cuz of its texture, that’s why it has ability to work it out! Good luck guys it’s really good for u!!

  19. Ayesha Sadique says

    These are called Sabza seeds in India …yes these are basil seeds..Also called tukmaria seeds…used in a dessert called falooda…
    Try this… Rose syrup, chilled milk, basil seeds, topped with vanilla ice cream…

  20. Rashed Hussain Syed says

    As nomeatnovember have said, it is popular in India also in the same way. I’ve had a lots of it being a kid.

  21. Behzad says

    Hi!
    We call those seed “Tokhm-e-Sharbat”, meaning syrup seed” in Iran. And it is a common drink during summer in Iran, I don’t know how it comes in Iran or Thailand, but I did not know that they have it in South East Asia, after I moved to Malaysia.

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