Sweet basil seed lemonade


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Lands of the Curry Leaf

Lands of the Curry Leaf

By Peter Kuruvita

Published 2018

  • About

The small black seeds from the sweet basil plant (scientific name Ocimum basilicum) have a nice crunchy texture and are widely used in popular sweet Asian drinks such as falooda, sherbet and milkshakes. You can add the soaked seeds to any fruit juice or drink of your choice, including sweet or savoury lassis.

You can also flavour this lovely lemonade with mint leaves, or the rosewater syrup from the Falooda.

Preparation 10 minutes + 15–30 minutes soaking


  • 1 tablespoon sweet basil seeds
  • 80 ml ( fl oz/ cup) lukewarm water
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or honey, dissolved in 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) warm water
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon black salt
  • ice cubes, to serve
  • mint sprigs, to garnish


Clean the basil seeds of any grit or small stones. Wash the seeds and place in a bowl. Add the lukewarm water and leave for 15–30 minutes, or until the seeds begin to swell. When you observe a transparent jelly-like coating over the seeds, they are ready to use.

In a bowl, combine the lemon juice, sugar or honey syrup, salt and black salt, mixing well. Add 600 ml (21 fl oz) water and the basil seeds, along with any leftover water from soaking the seeds. Mix well.

Pour into two glasses and serve with ice cubes and mint.