Friday, September 23, 2011

Herbal Frogspawn

WALKING home from school one morning after heavy rain, Alexander and I noticed something strange on our morning "snack bush". This is a huge lemon basil plant at the front of a neighbour's garden, which never seems to mind sparing a leaf or two as we breeze past. This day, however, it seemed to have been showered with frog spawn. The strange gelatinous lumps with a black speck in the middle were sprinkled all over the leaves, and piled in masses on the ground beneath the plant. We thought they might be some insect eggs, then on a hunch I checked the basil plants in our garden. Nothing like that to be seen on the regular Italian basil, but yes - the Thai basil and lemon basil both had the same frog spawn. To the internet I went a-running! Turns out the seeds swell with water (rain). In fact, they can be used to make a delicious drink by mixing the seeds with water and sweetening with a little sugar or honey to taste. Naturally we had to try it, and we found it was similar to drinking chia seeds in water, or bubble tea, which uses tapioca. Apparently this drink is common in Thailand, where it is also sold in cans. "Thai basil seed drink" is not especially original, but it does sound more appetizing than "frog spawn drink".

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