Kaffir Lime – A Unique Flavor In Thai Cooking

Kaffir Lime adds a truly unique flavor to Thai cookingKaffir lime (makrut) is a distinctively fragrant citrus fruit that adds a truly unique flavor to Thai cooking.

There really is no other citrus substitute that can replace the distinctive flavor of the Kaffir lime.

Surprisingly, the juice of the Kaffir lime is not actually used that often in Thai dishes. Rather, the Kaffir leaves (bai magrood) and the zest of the Kaffir lime peel (pew magrood) are the more commonly used parts of the fruit that introduce the unmistakable and unique essence to many Thai dishes.

The leaves of the Kaffir lime tree are dark green in color with a glossy sheen.  The leaf is actually made up of two parts. The top part is more pointed at the tip and is attached to a more rounded bottom portion of the leaf.  The leaf imparts a sweet, lemony fragrant essence to soups, salads, curries and stir-fried dishes.

The Kaffir lime peel is even more fragrant than the leaves with an exotic flavor that is uniquely different from the zest of other citrus fruit. Along with lemon grass and galanga, kaffir lime peel is a key ingredient in many Thai curries.

Kaffir lime, like many Thai herbs and foods, is known to have traditional medicinal qualities as well. Kaffir lime juice is used to promote gum health and is recommended for use in brushing teeth and gums. The oils in the fruit are blended into various ointments, and the rind is found in medicinal tonics believed to be good for the blood. Similar to lemon grass and galanga, the rind is also said to benefit the digestive system.

At Rachada Thai Cuisine, you can enjoy the distinctively Thai flavor of the Kaffir lime in many of our dishes.

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2 Comments

  1. where can you buy kaffir limes (the leaves)?

  2. Hi Dan,

    It may be difficult to find a local grocery store or specialty food store that carries Kaffir lime leaves, but you should be able to find a source online pretty easily. Just search for “kaffir lime leaves”. Prices range anywhere from $5 to $15 for a small pack of leaves, usually an ounce or two, about 30 or so leaves. For best flavor, look for fresh leaves (better than dried leaves).

    Rachada Thai Cuisine

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