The Makrut lime, also known as Kaffir lime, is one of Southeast Asia’s most remarkable herbs. The relatively small tree ‘Citrus Hystrix’ (translates to spiny citrus), produces small and round limes with lumpy deep green skin and displays a beautiful deep green foliage of uniquely 8 shaped leaves.

Makrut tree with fruits and laves

The lime’s distinct fresh lemony flavor and aroma brighten up a plethora of dishes and grant the makrut a honorary spot in the hole of fame, of herbs that make the basis for Thailand’s most admired curries (gaeng), together with galangal and lemongrass its lemony best pals.

Makrut lime (w galangal and lemongrass)
Makrut leaves, galangal and lemongrass in the market

I use the lime leaves very often in variety of dishes by tearing them and discarding the central stiff vein, thus allowing more of the essential oils to be released into the dish. I also use makrut chiffonade as garnish and an overlay of fragrance by stacking a few deveined leaves together, folding them twice and thinly cutting stripes using a very sharp knife.

The fruit rind is the preferred part for curry pastes, although it can be substituted with the leaves which are often more available.

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