Monday 21 July 2008

Totally gnarly fruit

Kaffir lime

I spotted this crazy-looking fruit nestling in a small wicker basket at Damian Pike's last weekend. Its appearance enchanted me - it looks like the lime equivalent of The Incredible Hulk. Frankenlime. The nice chaps working at the stall threw two of them in for free with my other purchases. :)

Kaffir lime

After years of buying the leaves, slicing them up thinly and adding them to Thai dishes, I had finally come face to face with kaffir limes! They smell AMAZING, especially when you give them a little squeeze to coax out tiny droplets of oil from the rind. These ones are actually looking a bit on the yellow side, because I've been admiring their appearance too much in my fruit bowl to want to use them. But then on Saturday I added one (zest and juice) to a red curry, and tomorrow night I'll probably use the other in a Pad Thai.

Have I just been leading a sheltered existence? Does anyone use k limes (the fruit, not just the leaves) regularly in their cooking? If so, which recipes suit them best?

Kaffir limes


Thermomixer said...

We have a kaffir lime growing & I rarely use the fruit. There is not much juice & it tends to be very acidic. The zest is very fragrant and I use that to add some flavour. Usually though I pick off the fruit while very small to let the tree put more energy into production of leaves, which we use frequently.
Did you find there was much juice in your specimens? They appear more yellow than ours, but maybe I don't leave them long enough?

stickyfingers said...

My Thai Aunt never used the fruit juice, just the leaves. Her maids however used to pickle the limes and used the juice to wash their hair with. The juice is more pungent than that of other limes and traditionally in Asia the Kalamansi lime - which looks more like a cumquat - is used for the juice in drinks and cooking.

I use the zest but you have to be careful as adding too much can add oilyness to the mix and the pith is to be avoided altogether.

Anonymous said...

There's a spooky brain-surface characteristic isn't there! I've always wondered too, so nice to hear what others do with them.

Anonymous said...

We have a kaffir lime tree in our garden as well ... the Malays refer to this as Limau Purut - Limau being Lime and Purut meaning stomach as it kinda looks like the lining of the stomach ...Generally you use the leaves in cooking and perhaps a little small squeeze of the fruit itself ... it tends to add a slightly bitter taste if you add too much of the juice ... mind you my partner would squeeze it into a glass and drink it ... but he's strange that way.

claire said...

Thanks for the comments and tips, everybody! Thermomixer, there wasn't much juice but an inordinate amount of pips.

They were interesting, but I think that overall I prefer them as a for their interior decorating/conversation starter uses :)

Duncan: BRAAAAINS!! Zombie k limes, perhaps??

michelle said...

i love the aroma of kaffir lime n use it alot when i used to live in malaysia ...i use it for a hot bath ...ohhh it so refreshing...just cut n squeeze in in ur hot tub fruit in as well n if feeling like pampering urself add some flowers or petals in ur bath...or i would cut n squeeze the juice n fruit in a big bowl add hot water n after shower use it as a last rise:)
would love to know where can i get the fruit here in melbourne

Anonymous said...

I would like to buy a kaffir lime plant. Do you know where I can get it please?