Description of Kaffir lime
Nutritional Value of Kaffir lime
Kaffir Lime Uses
Health Benefits of Kaffir Lime
Buying and storing
Preparation and Cooking Tips
Scientific name - Citrus hystrix
The kaffir lime indigenous to Indochinese and Malesian ecoregions, it is widely used in Southeast Asian cuisine. Referred to as makrut lime in English, kaffir lime leaves are of great use in many dishes. Adding an aromatic and astringent flavor, quite often, the lime leaves are used in Thai recipes.
With an easy identification, Citrus hystrix has distinctively shaped "double" leaves with a thorny bush. The bumpy, rough green fruit is compatible to container gardens and for large garden pots. With a size ranging from approx. 4 cm (2 in) wide, they are also used as a garden shrub for home fruit production.
It is during the winter season, the fruits start to appear, they are just about 4 cm in width and dark green in color, more or less with a 4 cm width. Featuring a tuberculate and rough exterior they have a pointed tip on the stem end. The main reason of the citrus aroma is present in the outer surface because they are comprised of essential oils. The fruit, with a strong acidic flavor exudes a great sourness. The interior layer of the fruit consists of 10 to 12 segments of pulp-vesicles. The fruit when ripe turns yellowish green from dark green.
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Not only the fruit of kaffir has multiple uses, but even the leaves are used in soups, salads, curries and stir-fried dishes. They are also used to garnish salads and other exotic dishes. Beverages and kaffir lime juice can never be seen apart, its rind is used in making curry pastes and to add flavor to rum in the islands of Martinique and Madagascar. They are also functional in making shampoos and insecticides. It is also used as a bleaching agent.
As already mentioned, the rind contains certain essential oils which are used in making medical tonics and ointments together with digestive tonics and in blood purifiers. They are of great use for the blood and circulatory system. Protecting the digestive system from disorders, the oil also helps in digestion and the lime pulp is used to brush the teeth and gums.
The lime leaves of kaffir can be found in almost all big super markets and they are sold in punnets. While looking to purchase these leaves, it is highly recommended that you buy dark-green, glossy leaves. To keep up its freshness store the leaves in a plastic bag and its crispness is sure to last up to one week. On the other hand, you can also freeze the leaves for up to a year.
The leaves are used in the preparation of salads and stir fries, however, make sure that you remove the centre vein, then finely shred or tear the leaves. To soups and curries, you can add them either whole or cut the leaves, but remove before serving, this will add aroma and flavor.
In order to have a citrus taste, add one kaffir lime leaf to jasmine rice