Kaffir lime, or or Citrus hystrix, is also known as Indonesian lime, wild lime or by its Thai name – makrut lime. Both the rind of the fruit and the leaves are used. The fruit is a dark lime green in color and looks like a pear with the outer rind being knobby and wrinkled. The juice of the fruit is sour and rarely used. The grated rind is added to curry pastes, fish cakes and larp (a type of minced meat salad). Kaffir Lime Leaves are a signature flavor of many Thai curries, salads, soups and stir-fries.
Kaffir Lime leaves have a shiny appearance and these leathery leaves grow together in an unusual attached form (looking like they are attached at the stem). Similar to bay leaves, whole Kaffir leaves are generally removed from the dish prior to serving. If you are going to leave them in a dish you should shred them very, very thin or grind them. They do retain their flavor when cooked so it is okay to add these early in the cooking process. But be careful with these, as the longer they are in a dish the more flavor they provide.
Kaffir Lime is very popular in Balinese, Cambodian, Malaysian and Thai cuisine. Native to Southeast Asia, Kaffir Lime is also grown in Australia, California and Florida. Our Kaffir Lime Leaves are grown in Thailand.
Kaffir Lime leaves go well with fish, green vegetables, mushrooms, noodles, pork, poultry, rice and squid.
Kaffir Lime leaves pair well with basil, chile peppers, cilantro, coconut milk, fish broth, galangal, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, mango, sesame and star anise.
The rind and the leaves are both used in Indonesian and Malaysian chicken and fish dishes. The fresh rind is grated or sliced; but be sure not to use any of the pith, as it is very bitter. The dried rind can be reconstituted much like a dried chile and then added to a dish.
These leaves are used in Thai and Lao cuisine in dishes such as tom yum. In Vietnam, Kaffir Leaves are used in chicken dishes to add fragrance and also to cover up the smell when steaming snails.
Like many spices, the dried leaves and the dried rind are not near as fragrant as the fresh. The rind is bitter with bold citrus notes, while the leaves have a strong, floral and pungent aroma with hints of both lemon and lime. The flavor is somewhat gentle yet bold and tends to stick around for a while.
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