If you like to cook Thai, one key ingredient is Kaffir lime also called Combava in France and sometimes Makrut or Mauritius Papeda. It’s a strange fruit you cannot really eat it as is. Its juice is very bitter. You can use the leaves as you would laurel and for the same lovely Kaffir flavour, its fruit zest (in small bits or large peeled rind) can be added to a soup, a stew or any sauce.
As you cannot find them all year round and in our case because our tree only produces once a year, the best way to keep the lovely zest is by preserving the fruits in jars.
Preserved limes are prepared exactly the same way as you would traditional preserved lemons. I like to transpose the spices to Asian spices: coriander seeds (these marvellous little beads come from our garden), white pepper, cassia bark (a cousin of cinnamon) and that’s it.
I hope you will be using this recipe and I would be thrilled to hear from you, your spices ideas, the use you made of it.
I read somewhere in a newspaper I think, some journalist laughing at all the people buying Kaffir Limes, a few years down the track ending up with massive trees yielding tons of “inedible” citrus. Well… first try this recipe, second, bear with me, I will publish a few of my good Kaffir Lime recipes here soon. And in the meantime, grab any good Thai book and go crazy :)
Try this recipe with any citrus. It’s simple and delicious.
- kaffir limes (also called combava, papeda or makrut)
- sea salt
- coriander seeds
- cassia bark
- white pepper
- lemon juice (enough to cover ⅓ of each jar)
- white wine vinegar
- water (boiled and cooled if you want to go by the perfect rules)
- Wash the kaffir limes in clear water.
- As a test, fill up your empty jars with the kaffirs you have got. Put the number of jars needed in a clean sink.
- Clean your jars, lids, chopping board and knife with dish-washing detergent in warm water and rinse well.
- Boil a whole kettle of water.
- Place the jars, lids, chopping board and knife in the sink, jars and lids inside up, pour boiling water on each of them, making sure every surface which will touch the food has been covered with water. Leave it to rest a few minutes while you're doing the next step.
- Take the washed knife and the board.
- Cut each kaffir lime in the shape of a cross, at the top, about half way deep into the fruit.
- With an oven mitt, empty each jar of the boiled water and place on your kitchen bench.
- Place 1 kaffir in a jar, fill up the cut with salt, proceed with a second kaffir and fill up the jar leaving room to screw the top later.
- Once all the jars are full of as many kaffirs as you can (without pushing) add the spices to your taste.
- Fill up with ⅓ lemon juice, ⅓ vinegar, ⅓ water (if you want to do it perfectly, the water can be boiled and cooled down to room temperature).
- Close the lid and place in fridge. Leave it there for months.