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Kaffir Lime Leaves


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I got some fresh kaffir lime leaves along with some other citrus. I know that they are used in Thai cooking, but how? What else can I do with them? I have read that they keep well frozen. Thoughts on this? Thanks.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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All of the above. They are typically used like we do bay leaves. That means that they are added for flavor and then removed. There are cases where they are pulverized in curry pastes and such.

I freeze mine (a friend has a bush) in small canning jars. They dehydrate some, you will get some ice crystals on the inside of the jar, but they will keep their flavor a long time.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I tried a couple with a slow-roasted lamb shank to no discernible effect. I think I will freeze them until I figure out how to make larb, etc. How could one use them in a more fusion-y way? Adding some to chicken soup or broth sounds like a possibility. What about dessert? Can it be useful at all for that or is the fact that it is from a lime tree misleading?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Most of the time, the leaves are used whole in mostly liquid dishes, where the essential oils infuse the sauce or liquid (e.g., tom yum hed (oyster mushroom soup) or tom yum goong (shrimp in clear soup). The only time the leaves are eaten are in dishes such as tod mun (fried fish cakes) where they are sliced thinly. If the leaves are to be used whole, toss them in towards the end of cooking, then remove and discard them.

I'd imagine the same guidelines apply in fusion-y cooking.

Soba

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docsconz

Here's some suggestions for you...

Using your sharpest knife, slice them into a 1/16th of an inch dice (yes, really that damn small) and then marinate meats or seafood with them and stir fry.

Or throw them into your favourite Thai curries with the leaves cut like this so that you get the maximum amount of oil coming out

gallery_21060_313_1105854671.jpg

It's so much worth the effort, they add divine flavour!

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Thanks for the reminder about cutting the leaves. I had forgotten about that.

My Victor Sodsook book, True Thai, has an interesting section, "Cooking with a Thai Accent," on extending Thai flavors to more familiar dishes. I looked for uses of the lime leaves. I found a salsa that uses the usual suspects but substitutes sriracha for chiles and adds slivered lime leaves. There are several good ideas in that section but this is the only recipe I found with lime leaves.

In the dessert section, there is a suggestion to add kaffir lime zest to a key lime pie. The only problem with that is that I have yet to see an actual lime. My friend's bush has never made a lime, either. (I will have to look into why that is.) I am wondering if you could impart the flavor to a key lime pie mixture or a sorbet maybe by letting some leaves sit around in one of the ingredients and infuse for a while. This sounds like an area for fruitful experimentation.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Thank you for the suggestions and especially the photo from Chef Metcalf.:cool: I will have to try that. In the meantime I have frozen the leaves. More suggestions and technical advice are of course always welcome. :smile:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Dessert: at Match Uptown, we made a sundae with coconut ice cream, tamarind sauce (cooked tamarind pulp plus sugar plus lime juice), mango "chutney" (diced mango plus a tiny bit of sugar plus guajillo chile powder plus HAIR-FINE CHIFFONADE OF KAFFIR LIME LEAF), garnished with a piece of dried mango. There might have been some sorbet in it, too, but I can't find that notebook. Anyway, I :wub:ed it.

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A friend of mine gave me the tip for chopping the leaves super fine which has opened the door to putting them in a whole host of things.

Don't know why I never thought of it on my own, maybe just too lazy as it does take some time to cut them that fine.

I freeze them too in small bags and pull out as needed.

Fifi, I would just add the super fine cut leaves right into the custard for the key lime pie and call it kaffir lime pie......now I'm craving one!

Key lime pie is one of our favourites after a trip where we sampled as many as possible! :biggrin:

docsconz, some other fusion suggestions (all using the superfine cut) for Kaffir Lime leaves.....

-sorbet or ice cream

-sabayon (lime sabayon is great anyway but using kaffir leaves and regular lime juice together make it a whole lot better and you can strain them out at the end...nice on baked peaches, nectarines or apricots)

-marinated bbq chicken or prawns (this is a Balinese method and it's sooo good)

-rubbed onto fish prior to grilling or baking

-kaffir prawn cakes (great appetizer)

-rice (throw in a few partially cut leaves into the water when making jasmine rice, remove after it's cooked)

-mixed with yoghurt

-margarita's

-compound butter

-buerre blanc

-tossed with fruit salad

-and our favourite for special occasions...butter poached seafood with kaffir added to the poaching liquid

Happy experimenting. Keep us posted on what you come up with.

cm

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Thanks Chef for the additional suggestions. Can you elaborate on the marinade for the balinese chicken? That sounds interesting, especially since we'll be roasting a chicken tonight. Perhaps I'll spatchcock it and marinate it before hand. I was planning on marinating it with some orange zest, garlic, EVOO and S&P. Kaffir lime leaves may be an interesting addition, although I would still love to hear more on the balinese method before I do anything.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Hi John

Use as many tablespoons of the super fine cut leaves as you have the patience to cut.

The more the better.

About six tablespoons minimum to do a whole chicken.

Cut the chicken into pieces, remove the skin and rub with peanut oil (evoo for European dishes, peanut oil for Asian).

Sprinkle with kaffir and massage into the chicken.

Leave it in the fridge to marinate for 1-24 hours.

Then BBQ it.

If it's too cold then bake it but it's much better BBQ'd.

Baste it while BBQ'ing or baking with some extra peanut oil/kaffir mixture.

Serve with sweet chili dipping sauce on the side (try and find Cock brand, it's seems to be the best quality as some of the others have really crunchy indigestible chili's).

You could expand on that and add garlic or whatever, but just the pure kaffir flavour is fantastic.

Spatchcock......I'm almost scared to ask?

And what time will dinner be ready?

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Cut the chicken into pieces, remove the skin and rub with peanut oil (evoo for European dishes, peanut oil for Asian). 

I assume you mean rub the skinless chicken with the oil and are discarding the skin? Since I love nice, crisp chicken skin, my thought is to loosen, but not remove the skin, marinate the chicken under the skin and broil the chicken skin on.

Dinner will probably be around 7PM :wink:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Chef Metcalf, thank you so much for the ideas. That picture is particularly helpful, not to mention just a little obscene. :laugh: The finely chopped leaves are really very pretty.

For some things, where the look and texture of the chop might not be important, what about copping fairly finely, to be sure it won't end up fibrous, and whacking a few times in the mortar?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Cut the chicken into pieces, remove the skin and rub with peanut oil (evoo for European dishes, peanut oil for Asian). 

I assume you mean rub the skinless chicken with the oil and are discarding the skin? Since I love nice, crisp chicken skin, my thought is to loosen, but not remove the skin, marinate the chicken under the skin and broil the chicken skin on.

Dinner will probably be around 7PM :wink:

I would if I were BBQ'ing it as I hate those oil/skin fires that always seem to develop when I BBQ (and so do my neighbours).

It permeates the meat better without the skin on it, but the method you mention above would work fine too.

I'm in the market for a new mortar and pestle and have been ever since breaking mine a year ago so I haven't tried it. Sounds like it would work.

Probably take the same amount of time and elbow grease as chopping it up though.

I tried the spice grinder.....not!

Hope the bird turns out well John.

CM

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I bought my mortar and pestle at a big Asian market here. It is that really heavy greenish stone. It looks like a fine grained granite but I am not at all sure that is what it is. Anyway, it was a lot cheaper (though not what I would call really cheap) than anywhere else I found and if you look at shipping on one of any size you just might faint.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I made the chicken.

I cut it into parts and let the minced leaves and peanut oil marinate the chicken for about three hours. I did leave the skin on. I broiled the chicken in the oven. The final product was good, but I would do some things a little differently. The leaves left plenty of flavor, although thee was a trace of bitterness too. I didn't add salt to the chicken to marinade. That was a mistake. With a little salt and without the bit of bitterness it would have been excellent. Any thoughts on the bitterness?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I bought my mortar and pestle at a big Asian market here. It is that really heavy greenish stone. It looks like a fine grained granite but I am not at all sure that is what it is. Anyway, it was a lot cheaper (though not what I would call really cheap) than anywhere else I found and if you look at shipping on one of any size you just might faint.

fifi - I've been eyeing similar ones at my local Asian groceries - but they don't have the pestle - is it hidden behind some counter so shoplifters don't make off with them?

After a trip to two groceries and Central Market, I'm without kaffir leaves tonight - used the last ones yesterday for a giant bowl of larb that I ate all by my lonesome - no leftovers - I think I'll have to hunt up a plant for my front porch...

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