The Kaffir Lime (Citrus Hystrix) is important to many Asian cuisines providing both Kaffir Lime Fruit and Kaffir Lime Leaves. Kaffir Lime leaves are highly aromatic and used as a flavouring. Kaffir Lime Leaves can be used whole, either fresh or dried, and are not normally eaten except in a few Asian dishes where the leaves should be finely chopped. Used extensively in Thailand and Indonesia in curries and soups including Thai Tom Yums, fresh Kaffir Lime leaves can also be used in salads. Always try to select the young tender leaves as older leaves become bitter. If you only have older leaves, tear the leaves away from the midrib which is the source of the bitterness. The grated rind of the Kaffir Lime fruit is also used in some Asian cuisines and is an essential ingredient for curry pastes in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.
The Kaffir Lime is a large thorny bush, native to S.E.Asia. The leaves are bright green and look like they are in joined pairs. The fruit is rough and warty. There have been some suggestions to change the name of this plant to “Makrut” which is the Thai name for Kaffir Lime, because the word “Kaffir” is considered offensive in some countries.
Kaffir Lime, rind, leaves and juice have some uses in traditional medicine. In a decoction, Kaffir Lime is an anti-oxidant, expectorant and digestive stimulant, helping to relieve indigestion and flatulence. The juice of the Kaffir Lime also makes an effective insecticide.
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