Tuesday, 26 May 2009
The kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix DC., Rutaceae) is a type of lime native to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. It is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine but is now grown worldwide as a backyard shrub.
The fruit of the kaffir lime is vibrant green and small (approx. 4 cm wide), rough and bumpy and grows on a very thorny bush with aromatic and distinctively shaped "double" leaves. It is well suited to container growing.
Other names for the Kaffir Lime:
• Burma: shauk-nu, shauk-waing
• Cambodia: krauch soeuch
• China: ning meng ye (Mandarin), fatt-fung-kam (Cantonese),
• Indonesia: jeruk purut, jeruk limo, jeruk sambal
• Laos: makgeehoot
• Malaysia: limau purut
• Philippines: Kubot, per-res (Sagada)
• Reunion Island: combava
• Sri Lanka: kahpiri dehi, odu dehi, kudala-dehi
• Thailand: makrud, som makrud
The rind of the kaffir lime is commonly used in Thai curry paste, adding an aromatic, astringent flavour. Its hourglass-shaped leaves (comprising the leaf blade plus a flattened, leaf-like leaf-stalk or petiole) are also widely used in Thai cuisine (for dishes such as tom yum), and Cambodian cuisine (for the base paste known as "Krueng"), and Lao cuisine. The leaves are also popular in Indonesian, Malaysian and Burmese cooking.
The leaves can be used fresh or dried, and can be stored frozen. The juice is generally regarded as too acidic to use in food preparation.
The zest of the fruit is widely used in creole cuisine and to impart flavor to "arranged" rums in the Réunion Island and Madagascar.
Note: You can buy established Kaffir and ordinary lime trees from Bunnings around spring time. I purchased my tree around a year ago for $24.95. You can plant it in pots (which I have) or in the ground. If grown in frost prone areas, the plant will need protection from the frost for a few years until it is very well established.