Monday, 8 November 2010

Malaysian Spices - Kaffir Lime Leaves

When you read a typical South East Asian recipe, especially Thai curries and Nyonya based dishes, the Kaffir Lime Leaf is actually quite essential. The fresh ones have a deep green colour to it and evokes a fresh lime essence when you smell it. Even dried, as is depicted in the picture still gives out the lime aroma and keeps longer when dried. However, when you do obtain them dried, you can freeze them. Be sure to wrap it in a layer of paper first to keep moisture out. A trick that my mother taught me, and it does work is use newsprint. Yes, actually newspaper sheets. So what you do is, place the fresh kaffir lime leaves into a zip log bag. Then wrap it with the newspaper sheet like you would a baby. Then carefully place them in the freezer. 

I usually keep a bunch of kaffir lime leaves, dried in the larder, and frozen as well because of my preference for both. A die hard cook I am anyway because if you are in a hurry, having the dried ones are handy. Whilst frozen ones can be added directly to the dish whilst cooking though I prefer to defrost them first. 

This is how the Kaffir Lime actually looks like and so far, I've only spotted it in Barcelona. The juice does taste slightly different but a normal lime is good enough whenever you're required to use limes in your cooking. However, I must admit that Kaffir Limes do give that added touch to a dish anytime.

So where can you buy Kaffir Lime Leaves? This is available seasonally fresh and more often dried in most major Asian grocery stores in London. I get my stash at:

New Loon Moon Supermarket
9A Gerrard Street
London W1D 5PN

See Woo Chinatown
18 - 20 Lisle Street
London WC2H 7BE

Want to experiment already? Then here's my take on using kaffir lime leaves in a non curry based dish:

Trying to identify the next essential ingredient,
The Innovative Baker

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