I adore the markets here…Lively and bustling and they sell everything from meat, fish fruit, vegetables, curry pastes, rice, clothing, garden pots and knives you name it it is sold here…On a Saturday I will share with you what I have found…
It may be a fruit or a vegetable it may be known to you or unknown…Today it is…
Kaffir Limes… I have used Kaffir Lime leaves in many of the Thai dishes that I cook they are used in many Asian dishes…The trees are small evergreen trees and prickly. The one I had was quite a young one and I had not seen any fruit…It wasn’t until a neighbour gave me some of the fruit that I put two and two together and realised that was the fruit of the tree I had growing in the garden and now we have fruit.
The rind is very bumpy unlike the normal limes I use and when cut open the flesh is quite dry and what juice there is has an acidic, bitter and is very strongly sour tasting.
A complete contrast to the zest which is quite aromatic.
A little zest goes a long way and very finely chopped or added to ingredients it imparts a beautiful citrusy flavour. I have added a little video as there is a knack for chopping the lime leaves very finely.
Here in Thailand, it is also pounded in a pestle and mortar as it is an ingredient in many curry pastes.
it is added to the iconic Tom Yum soup and other soups and stews here and also are an ingredient in Thai shrimp cakes.
The Madagascans use the whole macerated fruit and make rum I wonder if I could have a go…Carol’s distillery in her garden shed…Does that sound like a plan???
Called Rhum arrange it comes from the islands of la Reunion and Nearby Madagascar as well as the French islands in the Caribbean.
House or homemade rums flavoured with fruits, roots and spices that are macerated for a minimum of 1 month..although it is recommended to let it macerate for 6 months or even longer.
There are as many as 400 different recipes for rhum arrange and some have been macerated for 3-4 years…Wow, I bet they pack a punch!
And there is no end to what things are put into those bottles to “arrange” the rums…it could be a snake or sea urchin or just fruits and spices but all supposed to be quite delicious…
There are two different ways of macerating one is the traditional common way of submerging the fruits and spices into the rum. Then there´s another where you hang the fruits (usually citrus fruits) as they are or with things inserted into the fruits – like coffee beans and hung above the liquid.
The idea is that the aromatics and oils are derived from the citrus and spices without any bitterness from the pith and that´s the reason this method is usually used for citrus fruits.
Rhum Combava (Kaffir Lime)
- 1 litre of white rum (traditionally Rhum Charette) or rhum Agricole
- Grated zest of one combava/kaffir lime
- 1 vanilla bean, split in two
- 150g raw cane sugar
Mix and infuse the rum for at least 2 months.
I think I could manage to do that and make it into a nice cocktail… Oh Yes!
Nutritionally the benefits of the Kaffir Lime is from the oils in the rind and the high levels of citronella and limonene which are both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
Oil extracted from the leaves is also used for medicinal purposes, it is mixed into shampoos, soaps salves and fragrances.
Most often it is used in oral products or the leaves can be rubbed directly onto the gums as it eliminates harmful bacteria in the mouth.
In the rural areas and villages, you will find many herbs, fruits and vegetables are used like this to help alleviate and cure many ailments as many either are to far away to visit the doctor or cannot afford to or even just prefer to use remedies passed down through the generations.
It is also used as an insect repellant by mixing the juice or oil with a lotion or salve and it reduces the chance of being bitten.
Having quite a few these limes I decided to grate the zest always handy to have in the freezer and to try making some marmalade.
Kaffir Lime Marmalade.
- 1 lb Kaffir limes
- 3/4 lb Limes
- 4 cups of filtered water
- 4 cups of granulated sugar
Wash the limes really well cut them in half and then slice very thin half-moon slices. The regular limes I removed the peel and segmented them.
Cover the prepared fruit with the water and put in the fridge overnight or for up to 48 hrs…The smell of limes was amazing.
When ready pour the mixture into a heavy-based saucepan and add the sugar bring to the boil stirring until the sugar is dissolved keep stirring occasionally until the temperature reaches 222 F on a sugar thermometer. I stirred it almost constantly as I am very good at forgetting and burning anything containing sugar…
When ready remove from the heat and transfer to sterilised jars. Once cool I keep refrigerated. It is a lovely marmalade if you love marmalade with lots of peel like I do and has a strong lime taste which I love and takes away from the sweetness… I made half the recipe as I always do when I am trying something for the first time…
I hope you have enjoyed learning about the Kaffir Lime...Do you use Kaffir lime or its leaves ????
About Carol Taylor: Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a fabulous weekend xxx