Kefir Lime Leaf

I had a revelatory moment one balmy evening on the patio of the Amanjiwo Hotel overlooking Borobudur, the 9th century Buddhist monument in Java.  Dipping a crispy spring roll into the ubiquitous and oftentimes boring peanut sauce brought a gasp:  what was that flavor?  It was slightly citrusy, bright and yet deep like the jungle itself.  I later found out that the mysterious flavor was kefir lime leaf.  I was instantly a fan.  Upon returning home, I began scouring Indonesian and Thai grocery stores for the elusive leaf.  I couldn’t get enough!  Eventually, I planted a tree in a pot on my patio.  Using it judiciously as a background flavor creates exotic complexity.  More boldly as a primary flavor, kefir lime instantly transports one to a tropical Asian sunset of explosive flavor.  Naturally I use it liberally this time of year to elevate the saturated earthy flavors of Asian sauces, coconut curries, and stir fries, but it sings in desserts as well: try it as the central flavor in a creme anglaise over a dark chocolate souffle, in a creamy Thai tapioca or rice pudding, or muddled in a cocktail.  Of course it goes well in peanut sauce too…


4 thoughts on “Kefir Lime Leaf

  1. I’m a kefir lime leaf fan, too. Ming Tsai’s recipe for Kaffir Lime-shallot sambal is addictive…
    Can you tell me where you found a tree to pot? I’m hoping to put one on my balcony…

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