Thai Basil, Coconut and Lime Sorbet

July  5, 2010
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

  • Serves about 3 cups
  • 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)
In This Recipe
  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.

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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.