Weekend Herb Blogging #22 - Keffir Lime Leaves
I had never seen Keffir limes or their leaves before my first Thai meal, at Krung Thai (the original location), in San Jose. But once I got a taste of Thom Ka Gai and those unusual and fragrant leaves, well, I was hooked. I discovered, very happily, that the OSH near my house had a Keffir lime tree, and I snatched it up. As you can see in the photo below, the leaves are sort of double, like two leaves stacked end-to-end. And the perfume! If I ever find a Keffir lime essential oil, I will buy it by the gallon.
The classic use for the leaves and juice, for me, is Thom Ka Gai, a soup also made with coconut milk, lemon grass and, in this case with chicken (Gai), although you can also use prawns (not sure of the Thai word for that). Here's a recipe for a Thai fusion risotto, using that soup as the liquid. It's a little unusual, perhaps, but it makes a wonderful dish.
If you've never made risotto, here's brief description of the process. This is one of the things I use my StirChef for. It's an energy saver, mine.
FYI, here's a photo of the limes themselves. They have a wrinkeld, ridged brain-like look to them. These are green, in the sense of being unripe. When ripened, they are a color similar to key limes. Their juice seems very sour to me, but I've never had straight lime juice from regular limes, so I can't really compare them. They smell like heaven, though.