Kaffir Lime Benefits
Kaffir Lime Scientific Name:-
The scientific name for this species is “Citrus hystrix”.
The Kaffir Lime is a citrus fruit commonly grown in Malesian and Indochinese ecoregions. The fruit is especially known for its distinct aroma as well as its medicinal and culinary uses.The different parts of the Kaffir lime plant are described below.
Tree:- The Kaffir lime trees are small, reaching up to a height between 2.5 meters and 3 meters. These sprawling, spreading trees occur in small bushes. The trunk and branches of the tree are covered with strong, sharp spines having a length of around 4 cm.
Leaves:- The leaves are blunt, pointed and slightly emarginated. The leaflets are attached end to end. The leaves are medium-sized; the leaf measurement ranging between 3 to 5 by 8 to 12 cm. The tips of the leaves are somewhat irregular and the petiole is winged. The leaf margins are crenate and broadly rounded, with the base of the leaf being blunted. The tips of the leaves are subtruncate with frequent crenate margins. The leaves are of a dark green color and have a glossy sheen.
Flowers:- are small, free and have short stamens. They are pinkish-white in color.The fruits start to appear during the winter months. Fruits are round, almost 4 cm in width and dark green in color. It has an oval-shaped bottom and a conical, pointed tip on the stem end. The outer surface of the skin is rough and tuberculate. This outer surface is comprised of essential oils which are responsible for the lime’s distinct citrus aroma. The inner portion of the fruit is divided into 10 to 12 segments of pulp-vesicles. The dark green color of the fruit gradually fades to a yellowish green shade on maturity. The fruit has got a strong acidic flavor.
Culinary Uses:-The leaves and rind of Kaffir Lime are used in many Thai and Lao cuisines. The leaves are used in many soups, salads, curries and stir-fried dishes. The leaves can be added to soups either whole or torn. The fresh leaves are used in salads and garnishes. The young and tender leaves are nicely shredded and sprinkled over salads and curries which highly enhance the flavor. Finely chopped leaves can be added to stir-fried dishes and especially curries having coconut cream as an ingredient. The flavor of the leaves combines well with that of basil, cumin, lemon grass, mint, ginger and tamarind.
The rinds of the fruits are used in making curry pastes. The zest adds a great piquant flavor to spicy stews and fried fish cakes. Since the strong flavor of the rind can easily overcome the more subtle tastes of a dish, it is best to use the rind sparingly as well as mix it with other ingredients in a manner that its intensity is reduced. The juice is often used in the preparation of beverages and to add flavor to rum in the islands of Martinique and Madagascar.
Medicinal Uses And Health Benefits
The essential oils present in the rind are used to make various ointments and medical tonics which are beneficial for the blood and the circulatory system. These oils help in digestion and protect the digestive system from ailments. The juice of this lime is also used to brush the teeth and gums.
The citrus juice of the fruits is used to make shampoos and insecticides. It is also used as a bleaching agent.
Kaffir Lime Interesting Facts:-
Here are some interesting facts about these limes:-In folk culture, Kaffir lime juice is believed to avert evil spirits and refresh an individual’s mental outlook. The Indonesians refer to Kaffir lime as “asjeruk obat”, which means “medicine citrus”. Even though they belong to the Rutaceae family, these limes are not considered to be true limes. The leaflets are said to have an “hourglass” shape as they are attached to each other end to end.These limes are so prevalently used in Thailand that a simple reference of citrus leaves indicates to the Kaffir lime leaves.
Kaffir Lime Recipes:-
Some of the well known recipes of Kaffir lime include the Kaffir Lime and Coconut Shrimp with Red Curry Sauce, the Tom Yum Koong Soup, the Green Curry Chicken and the Thai Green Curry Paste.