Friday, November 4, 2011

Kaffir Lime in Da House!

It's cold out and so we've brought in our kaffir lime tree from the patio to warm indoors. We picked up the plant a few years ago to improve our Thai cooking (we are still learning) on a recommendation from the folks at Thai Cabin. We purchased a non-fruit bearing dwarf; the leaves are so aromatic and bright, adding them your broths, curries, or noodles will really transform your Asian dishes. And, while not a plant native to Virginia, I felt like the one-time purchase would had less environmental impact than multiple routine purchases.

This is Virginia, ya'll, so don't plant a lime tree in the ground. These guys don't get much bigger than 5 feet tall, so they make a great potted plant. In the summer, we keep ours on the patio in the shade of other trees. We let nature handle the watering and before the first frost we take the plant inside. Word to the wise: we have to keep ours away from the grasp of our kitties who like eat the plant.

Oph! See the slight lean to the right?
Maybe she wanted a little less shade and a little more light.

The leaves can be added whole to your soups or broths (like a bay leaf) or if you are feeling super fancy make an Asian bouquet garni with lime leaves and lemongrass (heart). They can also be added to dishes sliced in ribbons for finishing flavor. In short, these babies will add a that great flavor that will leave your guests wondering why your food is so dang good.

My regular go to for kaffir leaves is from an easy recipe from Thai Vegetarian Cooking.

2 tbsp oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 small red or green chilis, finely chopped
12 oz of dried noodles - chef's choice - prepared to taste (al dente or no)
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves, roughly chopped
6 basil leaves
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1 small green or red pepper, chopped

Add oil. Heat up your wok or pan. Heat oil until haze appears. Add garlic and oil. Cook until golden. Add noodles. Then add remaining ingredients. Cook until peppers are slightly cooked, but still al dente. Put on a plate and eat it up. Enjoy!


  1. Oh no! Watch out for a hit up... Matt used to cook at the thai room and is always bemoaning the lack of lime leaf!
    Thanks for the source, maybe I'll have to get one of our own!

  2. These lime leaves are like a gateway drug. Once you get ahold of them, it leads to an overwhelming case of thai-curiosity. This NYT slide show reminded me of your blog post, so I thought I would share.

  3. Actually, after discovering the Asian market 6 blocks from our house, I'm on a quest to learn how to better cook Thai food. Do any of you have good blogs to recommend for Thai cuisine or other Asian cuisine? Cookbooks are not in the budget right now, but the internets are FREE. :)