Do you know why people love Thai Chicken Coconut Soup and Thai curries? Because it is magical, and one of the magical ingredients of Thai cooking is the kaffir lime leaf. Yes, this is what adds the strong flavor to Thai recipes. At first sight, fresh Kaffir lime leaves look like some common leaves from your backyard, but these dark green leaves are much more memorable with the strong citrus flavour (similar to lemon zest). The dark green, hourglass shape, kaffir lime leaf is different from the regular lime leaf. This leaf comes from the kaffir lime tree (Citrus hystrix) which produces lime with bumpy skin and extremely bitter taste, and it is one of the most aromatic herbs in the world.
What are Kaffir lime leaves?
Citrus hystrix, commonly known as Kaffir lime, is a tropical citrus fruit that is native to several parts of Southeast Asia. Due to its special tart and delicious flavour, kaffir lime is popular for its culinary use. The kaffir lime is also widely used in herbal medicine, because of its high content of several beneficial organic compounds that are good for the body systems. The fruit, rind, and leaves of kaffir limes are used for different purposes.
When you smell the leaf in its whole form, you won’t actually be able to get a good scent of it right away but when you slightly tear the leave, the distinctive flavourful aroma exudes and you get to understand the vibrant punch that these leaves bring to cooking. Some even say the flavour is a combo of lime fruit, persian lime, lemon, and orange and can it can be found in many Thai, Cambodian and Indonesian cooking techniques.
Where to buy Kaffir lime leave?
Kaffir lime leaves are not difficult to find. If you are in the United States, you probably won’t find them in your standard grocery store. However, every Southeast Aisan grocery store will definitely have fresh kaffir lime leaves in their herbs and spices section. Dried leaves are often used for various recipes and can be easily found. However, buying fresh leaves is recommended. You can also buy kaffir lime leaves online from suppliers of Thai foods.
What are the benefits of Kaffir lime leaves?
Kaffir lime leaves are known to bring many herbal medicinal benefits. They are most commonly used to improve oral health by rubbing it onto the gum. Studies have shown that essential oils from the leaves can help get rid of harmful bacteria within the mouth. Here are the health benefits of Kaffir lime leaves;
- Oral Health: – Promotes good oral health and eliminate harmful bacteria that can build up in the mouth.
- Digestive Issues (helps with constipation, hemorrhoids, gastric ulcers)- The constituents are anti-inflammatory in nature, and they are also stimulating for the digestive system.
- Skin Care: – Packed with antioxidants- May help with breakdown of cells and minimize the appearance of age marks, scars, and pimples
-May help with rheumatism
-May help with arthritis
-May help with edema
-May help with gout
-May help with headache
-May help with migraine
- Hair Health:
-May help with dandruff
-May help strengthen hair follicles
-May help improve hair shine
- Detoxify the blood:
-May help to eliminate foreign agents or the pathogens in our blood
-May help with lymphatic and liver system to remove the foreign and dangerous substances
Uses of Kaffir lime leaves
Apart from being used in Thai soup, Thai curry, green curry, Thai curry paste, fish cakes and multiple other Thai dishes, Kaffir leaves can be used in baking. A good example is the delicious Kaffir key lime pie. Cooking with Kaffir lime is an integral part of Asian cuisine. While lime zest and lemongrass are used in other parts of the world, there is really no substitute for kaffir lime when it comes to authentic Southeast Asian taste.
Kaffir leaves are effective for massaging muscles and joint when mixed with coconut oil. You can also use the leaves to make natural room air freshener when you slice it and soak in water for 1-2 hours. Pour the content in a spray bottle and spray into your home.
Rhymba Hills products which contain dried Kaffir Lime Leaves are (please click on the product below to try):