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Kaffir Lime Leaves 

Kaffir lime leaves (Citrus hystrix) are the highly perfumed leaves of a Southeast Asian citrus fruit that’s not actually a true lime. The glossy, dark green kaffir lime leaves look like two leaves joined end to end. Their name derives from a word of Arabic origin for “nonbeliever”. Grown in Southeast Asia and Hawaii, the kaffir lime tree produces small, pear-shaped fruit with bright yellowish green wrinkled skin.

Kaffir limes are valued for their zest and very sour juice, but mostly for the heavenly perfume of their leaves. The leaves are especially popular in Thailand, where they appear in soups, stir-fries, and curries, and in Indonesia (especially Bali) where they appear in fish and chicken dishes. Dried kaffir lime leaves are used in the same way as bay leaves.

Other Names
Wild lime leaves; Bai makrut or makroot (Thai); chanh sac or truc (Vietnamese); daun jeruk purut (Indonesian); daun limau purut (Malay); ichang lime; wild lime; khi hout or kok mak (Laotian); kobumikan (Japanese); kraunch soeuth (Khmer); makrut lime; mav naus (Hmong)
Purchase and Avoid
Look for fresh or dried kaffir lime leaves in Southeast Asian markets. Fresh leaves, which have a more intense fragrance, are sometimes available and are preferable. Frozen leaves are fine for flavour, if not appearance.
Storage
Fresh leaves will keep for several days, or can be frozen. Store dried leaves in a sealed container in a cool, dry place for several months.
Culinary Uses
  • Add whole lime leaves during cooking to scent white rice, fish, or stock.

  • Shred or tear the leaves and add to Thai curries and hot and sour soups.

  • Make kaffir lime aïoli by puréeing the deveined leaves with a little lime juice and mixing with mayonnaise.

Food Affinities

Category: Spices and Herbs

Sub Category: Spice

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