To all those out there in vacuum land
Over the past several months, I have been privately bemoaning the fact that nobody ever comes in to comment any more. And then I realize that I don’t make the rounds of blogs the way I used to either.
It seems that the Golden Days of EoMEoTE, WHB, BBD, PPN, WTSIM…, etc. etc. are over forever. Goodness how sad.
Still, even though times have changed, I find I can’t stop blahblahblahing about our adventures in the kitchen.
So. Hello again Vacuumland! I’m here to resurrect Not-exactly-the-Weekend Herb Blogging with “lime leaf”. And I’m here late. Really late. Because we don’t even have any lime leaves left and couldn’t find them at the vegetable stand in the Asian supermarket when we went to replace them!
It all began way back before the summer began in earnest, early last June. Or was it May? We were at the Asian supermarket looking for Galangal for Thai curry that night and saw some really interesting looking bright green shiny leaves in a styrofoam tray covered with plastic stuck with the mysterious label saying “produce”. All the vegetables and herbs at that market are labelled “produce”….
Wondering what this very cool looking leaf might be and knowing that there’s little point in asking anyone who works there (they NEVER speak English), we heitantely stopped a likely looking, smartly dressed woman waltzing down the aisle – it’s always tricky to guess which of the many patrons might speak English. We held out the package and asked her if she knew what they were. Here’s how the conversation went:
she: Yes, they’re… oh dear, what is the English name?? …they’re the leaf of a fruit – it’s sour, and green and round. These leaves are used a lot in Thai curries.
we: [taking a stab] Lime?
we: [grinning wildly] It’s lime leaf!! It’s lime leaf!! Thank you!
Whoohoooooo! I’ve always wanted to try lime leaves! We’ve always used lime zest and lime juice in Thai curries. And the curries were always delicious. But using lime zest and juice was always a compromise.
Naturally, we bought the lime leaves. We didn’t care how much they cost. In fact I have no recollection of how much they were!
With our purchases safely stowed in our panniers, we raced home on our bikes and T got the wok out and made The. Most. Brilliant. Thai. Red. Curry.
There were a lot of lime leaves in the little tray. We put the rest into the freezer. And a couple of weeks later, T made lime leaf ice cream (very interesting flavour – like perfumey lime) – errrm, no photos but it didn’t really look any different from other ice cream, except that it had a very faintly green cast to it.
T also made Thai red curry again. It was easily as good when made with frozen lime leaves.
But. Now we’ve run out of lime leaves! And the Asian supermarket that had had trays of lime leaves galore in June, had none a couple of weeks ago. Waaahhhhhhh!! Maybe this month?
…wish us luck.
And sorry, no recipe. But. If you’d like to know what T does to make this brilliant curry (and/or the ice cream), please ask in the comment section…. That way, I might find out that I’m not just talking to myself.
Weekend Herb Blogging #408+x: Kaffir Lime (Citrus hystrix) leaf
Kaffir Lime (Citrus hystrix, jeruk purut, makrut) […]
Thai: Makrut, Magrood, Makut, Magood; Bai makrut (leaves); Luk makrut (fruits) […]
The leaves, which have a characteristic shape due to their winged petioles, which almost look like leaves themselves; if available, the fruits, especially the fruit skin, may also be used. […]
[K]affir lime leaves are a very popular spice in Thailand; their characteristic flavour appears in soups, stir-fries or curries (see coconut for a list of other ingredients to Thai curries). In Thai cuisine, kaffir lime is frequently combined with garlic, galanga, ginger and fingerroot, together with liberal amount of chiles. Fresh Thai basil is needed for the authentic fragrance.
[Most popular in Thailand […] [is] a fiery–hot, sour and very aromatic soup […] flavoured with loads of chiles, lime juice, fish sauce and fresh spices: galanga, lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves. It is served topped with aromatic greens, usually basil (horapha) or coriander.
– Gernot Katzer, Spice Pages | Kaffir Lime (Citrus hystrix)
Kaffir lime leaves are thick, dark green and shiny on the top, porous and pale on the back. A leaf has two connecting leaves which I call ‘double leaves’. Tear a leaf to smell the distinct aroma. Fresh kaffir lime leaves keep well in a refrigerator for at least 2 weeks. […] If the recipe calls for kaffir lime leaves and you can’t find any, skip the leaves. Don’t substitute. The fragrance is so distinct that it is irreplaceable.
If the leaf is used whole, like in curry or in soup, most people do not eat the leaf itself. To prepare, tear the leaf by holding on to the joint between the two leaves and tear the leaf away. When you eat, you just avoid eating the leaf and move it to the side of your plate or bowl.
The only time the leaf is eaten is when it is sliced very thin for recipes like Tod Mun and Panang. To slice or thread the kaffir leaves, roll up the leaves and slice thinly with a very sharp knife. […]
How to Grow a Kaffir Lime Tree
I have grown a few Kaffir lime trees, either picking them up at the home improvement stores or growing them from seeds. They seem happy in a large pot, like a half wine barrel. In such a pot, they grow to about 3 feet tall. Even with a single 3 foot tall tree, we get more leaves than we can use.
– Natty Netsuwan, ThaiTable.com Kaffir Lime Leaves (Natty Netsuwan lives in the U.K.)
Unfortunately, the laws about importing citrus plants have become very strict because of the possibility of introducing the Citrus long-horned beetle (Anoplophora chinensis) that not only feeds on citrus wood but can cause major damage to several kinds of hardwoods.
I haven’t given up hope though. Apparently, there might be a nursery near Kitchener that may sell Kaffir lime plants. (Alas, none of the mail order websites in the US will ship plants outside of the US. :stomp:)
But maybe maybe maybe, this Seed Store will sell seeds that will actually grow. But perhaps I should wait until next spring….
- For more information:
» Canadian Food Inspection Agency: Anoplophora chinensis (Citrus long-horned beetle) – Fact Sheet
» wikipedia: Kaffir Lime | Cuisine
» ThaiTable.com Kaffir Lime Leaves
» Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages: Kaffir Lime (Citrus hystrix DC.)
- Some previous WHB posts about lime leaf:
» Cook Almost Anything | Pork Dumplings in a Kaffir Lime Leaf Broth (WHB#37)
» I like to cook | K is for… (WHB#65)
» Nourish Me | Kaffir lime leaf gyoza (WHB#86)
» Teczcape | Kaffir Lime Leaf makes Thai Shrimp Cakes (WHB#229)
I still mourn the demise of Weekend Herb Blogging. What a testament it is to Kalyn (and Haalo, who took over the administrative duties around year 3) that it lasted for 8 years!
Happily, many of the zillions of posts are still archived and available. For more information, please see:
- Related posts:
» Coconut Curry (Thai Style)