Kaffir lime leaves are easily recognisable. The leaves are dark green in colour and have a unique double-segmented leaves. Its hour glass shape and deep emerald green leaves adorn dull, brown curries beautifully. I’ll garnish curry with the whole leaf or sprinkle long and thinly slices leaves on it.
Tear the leaves slightly and you’ll whiff a unique citrusy scent. The leaves has essential oil that is used in perfumery, the same scent from the leaves and rind of the fruit add fragrance to dishes. In Malaysian cuisine, Kaffir lime leaves are normally added into curries such as the Nyonya Kapitan Curry.
Unlike other trees where the fruit takes the centre-stage, Kaffir lime leaves are more widely used. From what I gather from botanist, there are true kaffir lime leaves which stems has obvious thorns and the hybrid one which doesn’t. The former is much more fragrant, but takes a much longer time to grow. I have tried but failed to buy true kaffir lime tree. Fortunately, I have access to it through my neighbour’s trees.
Other names of Kaffir Lime
- English name: Kaffir lime leaves
- Malay name: daun limau purut
- Chinese name: 泰国桔叶 (Tai kwok kam yip)
How to julienned the leaves
1. Cut away the thick and tough centre pine
2. Stack the leaves
4. Slice thinly with a sharp knife
Kaffir lime leaves powder
I discovered dried and grounded Kaffir Lime Leaf while I was writing 3 Ingredient Recipe, where only three fresh ingredients are allowed in a recipe. Kaffir lime leaves powder is not as common as ground cinnamon or turmeric. Most people use the fresh leaves.
The powder looks a like green tea powder with citrus fragrance. I was please to find that it contains to addictives; just pure dried kaffir lime leaves powder.
Most recipes only calls for a few pieces of kaffir lime leaves. However, in the supermarket, we have no choice but to buy a whole packet full of them and ended up with more leaves than we’ll need.
So having kaffir lime leaves in powder form is truly handy for home cook. You can use any quantity that you like and keep them for a much longer time.
Where to buy
Fresh Kaffir Lime Leaves – Get it from any supermarket or wet market. I’m fortunate that a few of my neighbours have this plant, I just pluck them whenever I need them.
Kaffir Lime Leaves Powder – This is not a very popular product. I haven’t seen it in many supermarkets. I got mine from AEON Jusco.
Wrap the leaves in paper towel and keep it in a plastic container or ziplock bag. It can last for 2 – 3 weeks.
You can also wrap the leaves in cling wrap and freeze it for up to a few months. However, the aroma will not be as intense (I normally do not bother freezing herbs due to this reason)