This was actually more funny than anything. Last week, we were planning a big Japanese dinner one night, so I took a pass through the Asian market down the street. While I was wandering around, I saw a little packet of Sweet Basil Seeds. Never having seen that type of seed as a food application, it piqued my curiosity, so I took one. When I was cashing out, the girl asked what I was going to do with it. I told her I had no idea, that I had never seen them before. She brought me over to the refrigerator case and showed me a canned beverage with the seeds floating in it. Although they look like any other seed in the packet, once in contact with a liquid, they bloom into something resembling a pomegranate aril.
She doesn't speak much English, so that was pretty much as far as the conversation went, although she did say it's usually used by people dieting. Sounds logical. If you drink a glass before eating, it would plump up and fill your stomach, making you less hungry. That's my guess anyhow. I looked it up online when I got home but didn't see much else, so I figured OK, I'll start with a drink and then decide what to do with it from there.
I didn't want to drink them in just plain water, so I decided to run some watermelon through the blender with crushed ice.
I poured lime seltzer water into a measuring cup and sprinkled in some seeds to bloom them. I didn't want to crush them in the blender, and I also didn't want to spin the carbonation out of the seltzer water, so I wanted to keep them separate for the moment.
Fill a glass to about 3/4 full with the watermelon mixture, then top it off with the lime seltzer and sweet basil seeds. It turns out the seeds don't really have much of a flavor on their own, but when they plump up, they have a tapioca-like texture. We just kept taking sips, looking at each other with weird expressions, and laughing. Whey would anyone want to drink tapioca?!?
Here's a progression ...
The only thing I could think to use them in would be maybe a Panna Cotta or something like that. When we poured out the rest of the cup we didn't use, it looked like a bunch of fish eyes in the sink. Then I started thinking about silly applications. Halloween came to mind. You could make Jell-O shots with those in them, or use Halloween molds to make jigglers. That would definitely be creepy looking!
As a more practical application, I suppose if you like to make Sushi at home, but someone in the family doesn't like roe, you could bloom some of these in Mirin or Sriracha and use them in place of the roe?? :)