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What are Kaffir Limes?

Kaffir limes are a type of citrus fruit and are popular in Southeast Asian cooking for its unique flavor. Learn how to use them in cooking and other applications.

Keffir Limes spread out on a bench top with one cut in half.

When I was doing my post-office run, our community sharing cart had a harvest of Kaffir Limes. So I thought it'd be fun to feature them here and some uses in cooking. 

Kaffir limes are a citrus fruit that is yellow-ish-green in colour and has a bumpy, rough texture. Kaffir limes are similar to the common green lime. They have a slightly different flavour than green lime and are used extensively in Southeast Asian cooking. What's great is that you can use the rind, juice and leaves of the kaffir lime tree.

What is the Difference Between a Kaffir Lime and A regular Key Lime?

A kaffir lime has a more acidic taste than the regular key lime and a more complex flavour described as earthy-sweet citrus with a hint of bitterness. 

How to use Kaffir Leaves

The leaves are a key ingredient in Thai cuisine and have been used for centuries in the region. Kaffir lime leaves are often added to dishes for their citrusy flavour. You can use them in many recipes, including curries, soups and noodle-base dishes. If you want to extract more aroma from the kaffir leaves, either slice them with a knife or scrunch the leaves a little before adding them to your dish. 

How to use Kaffir Lime Fruit

The rind of the kaffir lime fruit has a robust flavour. Use the rind of the kaffir lime fruit to add flavour to dishes such as curries and soups. You can also use it to make drinks such as limeade, margaritas, or desserts.

The juice from Kaffir Limes can substitute for lemon or lime juice to add a tangy flavour to salads and other dishes. You can also use it in marinades and curries. Add a little sugar to your cooking if you want to offset some bitterness of a kaffir lime. 

How to Dry Kaffir Lime

Another way to use Kaffir lime is to cut it into slices, dry and store it to add it to drinks or as a garnish on meals. 

Dry your kaffir limes by following this recipe:

  1. Cut the lime into thin slices
  2. Place the lime halves on a lined tray and place in an oven set at 100 degrees celcius for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and let cool before handling.


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