Thai Basil, Coconut and Lime Sorbet

July  5, 2010
1 Ratings
  • Serves about 3 cups
Author Notes

Thai basil, coconut and lime are great friends. Traditional components of Southeast Asian curries, the herbal anise notes of the Thai basil provide a flavor bridge between the sweet coconut and the tart lime. This silky sorbet is a refreshing dessert and would also work as a palate cleansing intermezzo.

Note: Make simple syrup one day ahead. If coconut water is unavailable, you can substitute 2 cups of water, although the texture of the sorbet will not be as smooth. If using water, you may also want to add a little more agave, or alternatively 1/2 cup plus 1 T cane sugar. - gingerroot

Test Kitchen Notes

This dessert is summer in a cup -- so refreshing, light and bright. Using coconut water is a brilliant touch; you get lots of coconutty flavor without weighing down the whole thing with heavy coconut milk. The basil flavor is actually fairly subtle next to the bigger flavors of coconut and lime, but it adds a wonderful aroma and counterpoint to the tart flavors. - vrunka —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups coconut water, such as Vita Coco
  • 1/3 cup light agave nectar
  • 12-14 Thai basil leaves
  • Scant 1/4 cup lime juice (I used 1 1/2 limes)
  • 20-24 Thai basil leaves cut into chiffonade
  • 5 tablespoons coconut milk, chilled (if using from a can make sure you shake can well before opening)
  1. Combine coconut water and agave in small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat.
  2. Place 12-14 Thai basil leaves in a large glass container with a spout (such as a quart pyrex measure) and muddle with a spoon to bruise leaves. Add hot coconut water mixture to leaves. Let mixture cool. Cover with plastic wrap, place in refrigerator overnight.
  3. Put remaining Thai basil leaves cut into chiffonade into a small bowl. Juice limes over basil.
  4. When ready to make sorbet, discard steeped basil leaves from coconut water syrup. Add chilled coconut milk and lime juice with basil chiffonade to coconut water syrup. Stir to mix.
  5. Pour mixture into your ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. After 40 minutes in my machine, the sorbet was silky but soft. Before transferring to a container, mix to combine basil ribbons (some clumped together on the paddle of my machine). Freeze at least an hour or two more for a smooth, firm sorbet.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Diego Jim Pena
    Diego Jim Pena
  • PRST
  • dymnyno
  • WinnieAb
  • Sagegreen

Recipe by: gingerroot

My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love. Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.

18 Reviews

Diego J. September 10, 2018
First time making this. Am using invert sugar and a hint of Naga/Bhut Jolokia
gingerroot September 11, 2018
Thanks for the note! Let me know how it turns out.
Diego J. September 10, 2018
HI First time trying this. Am using invert sugar. Also adding a hit of Naga/Bhut Jolokia ( Ghost Pepper)
PRST June 26, 2013
Hi gingerroot- do you have a recommendation for a substitute for the agave nectar? I am sure that in addition to sweetness it adds creaminess to the texture but the facts about it are alarming.
gingerroot June 27, 2013
You know, I'd just use sugar, though maybe a little more than 1/3 cup. I'd love to know what you end up doing.
PRST June 27, 2013
I think it needs an invert sugar for the texture but I could be wrong. I'll let you know what I do and the result. I can taste it just thinking about it. Yum.......
Have you tried adding just a hint of heat from a bird's eye chili? I might try that too.
PRST June 26, 2013
I can't wait to make this! Thanks for entering it again- I can't believe I missed seeing this recipe.......
gingerroot June 27, 2013
Thank you, PRST! I'd love to hear your thoughts if you try it.
fhp June 7, 2013
Made this.
Exactly ditto what dymnyno said.
I underline "artful" and add delicious.
gingerroot June 7, 2013
Hi fhp, thank you so much for letting me know! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it.
dymnyno July 10, 2010
This sounds like an artfully conceived recipe based on a great knowledge of ingredients.
gingerroot July 10, 2010
Thanks dymnyno! What a nice compliment - you've made my day. I have never had as much fun or been more inspired in the kitchen than since joining the food52 community.
ody July 8, 2010
This looks delicious---the coconut water is a particularly nice touch. I can't wait to give it a try!
gingerroot July 8, 2010
Thanks ody, let me know what you think!
WinnieAb July 5, 2010
This sounds really amazing!
gingerroot July 6, 2010
Thanks WinnieAb!! I joined food52 a few weeks ago, during the cucumber contest, and your Cucumber sherbet looked so good. I've been experimenting with frozen concoctions ever since.
Sagegreen July 5, 2010
This looks great!
gingerroot July 5, 2010
Thanks Sagegreen! I experimented with this sorbet and made it a few different ways; I think the coconut water and agave give it the softest, silkiest texture.