WHAT IS IT?
Makrut (Mac-rit) lime leaves are more commonly branded as “Kaffir” in North America. We won’t use the term, because it’s a racial slur (See Backstory, below).
They are the fragrant anthem of Thai, Indian and other Southeast Asian cuisines.
The bold aroma of the fresh leaves give lift to all kinds of dishes, from curries to roasted meats. They provide a more subtle flavor to sauces, stews, curries, and rubs.
Makrut lime leaves offer a citrus scent infusion, and a gentle lime taste, without the sharp acids of the juice.
The essence of the makrut lime leaf is unlike any other: An abundant sweet citrus bouquet that lingers on the nose, with gentle fruit blossom notes. The bright tropical aroma emerges more when allowed to steep in liquid, or vegetable oils, or in steaming.
Like bay leaves, makrut leaves don’t break down easily. As a chocking hazard, they should be removed before serving. They can, like bay leaves, be crushed, in some applications, like a spice rub, with a spice grinder or mortar/pestle. You can also buy a finer ground makrut.
Makrut limes are a prized citrus plant, native to tropical Asia, where they are available year round, including Thailand, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Makrut limes and their leaves are the go-to of the Thai kitchen.
- Beef Rendang;
- Curries and soups;
- Scallops in broth.
A FEW IMPROVISATIONAL RIFFS:
- Add to a simple meat brine to add citrus notes to it. Pairs well when properly balanced with ginger and/or turmeric;
- Steamed coconut rice gains a wonderful citrus scenting;
- A couple of leaves added to coconut broken rice add fragrant depth;
- Adds character to butter pickles;
- Adds texture and taste to my hoisin rustic ribs.
We use the term “Makrut” rather than Kaffir because, as Veronica Vinje will tell you, the term “kaffir” is a racial slur, coined centuries ago by Arab traders for black people across Africa. It literally means “non-believer,” or “infidel,” in Arabic. Like the “N word” in the United States, the term is highly offensive to those against whom it is aimed. It’s even legally actionable to use the word in reference to someone in South Africa.
Exotic still in North America and Europe, they are the common citrus leaves of Asia, and need no added name. Makrut is so common that most rural households surely have a tree, or trees, as part of their culinary keep.
- Bai makrut
- Chanh sác
- Daun jeruk purut
- Daun limau purut
- Indische Zitronenblätter
- Indonesian lime leaves,
- Indonesische Zitronenblätter
- Limettier hérissé
- Mauritius papeda
- Wild lime
Buy from our friends at SpiceJungle!