Friday, January 12, 2007

K is for...

K is for Kaffir Lime Leaf.
Who: Kaffir Lime Leaf
What: The leaf from the Kaffir Lime Tree. The leaves have a unique shape as seen in the picture - they look like two leaves joined together at the ends.
Where: Kaffir Lime Trees grow in Hawaii as well as South East Asia. The limes and leaves must be harvested by hand, which increases the price and decreases the availability of both products.
When: As the leaves are available dried and frozen as well as fresh, they are available year round.
Why: The leaves (as well as the lime rind) impart a sharp, unmistakable lime scent and taste that is more "limey" than regular limes. They are essential in many Thai soups, curries and fish dishes.

If you are not able to locate kaffir lime leaves or limes, you can substitute the rind and juice of regular limes.

If you happen to get your hands on fresh leaves, make sure you wrap them well and store them in the freezer.

Thai Crab and Shrimp Cakes

12 oz medium or large shrimp in the shell
12 oz crab meat
4 cloves garlic
2 tb grated fresh ginger
3 green onions, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
3 kaffir lime leaves, snipped with scissors
1 egg white, beaten until frothy
bread crumbs
oil for frying

Place the garlic, ginger, onions, celery and lime leaves in a food processor. Chop very finely. Remove the shells and tails from the shrimp and add to the processor. Pulse until the shrimp are chopped up, but not a paste. Scrape down the sides of the processor, squeeze the excess liquid out of the crab meat, and add the crab and pulse a few more times to blend. Scrape the mixture out into a bowl. Season lightly with salt. Add about half of the egg white and mix together. If you need more egg, add it. If the mixture is too wet, add a bit of bread crumbs. Chill for an hour or so.
Heat a small amount of oil over medium high heat in a large pan. Scoop a spoonful of the shrimp mixture (it's soft) and gently press it into a small patty. Dust with bread crumbs and place in the pan. Make a few more patties - don't overcrowd the pan. Fry the patties on both sides until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and keep warm while you make the rest.
I served these with a yogurt-curry-lime sauce.

Thai Flavored Chicken Noodle Soup, made from the Thai Flavored Broth.

Thai Flavored Broth

1 yellow onion, unpeeled
4 cloves of garlic
3 whole dried chiles
1 tb peppercorns
3 kaffir lime leaves
peel of 1/2 a lemon, in strips
900 grams chicken parts, or a whole chicken
8 cups of water.

Cut the onion into quarters and crush the garlic cloves with a knife. Add all the ingredients to a stock pot. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, covered for 90 minutes. Skim any impurities from time to time. Strain thru a fine mesh strainer. The chicken may be reserved for another use, but discard the rest of the solids.

Green Chicken Curry

2 tb oil
1 1/2 tsp green curry paste made with kaffir lime leaves
2 cooked chicken breasts, skin removed and discarded and chopped (i like to poach them or use chicken from making the broth)
1 cup frozen peas
1 small thai eggplant, chopped
2 red or white skinned potatos, chopped and steamed until tender
1/2 onion, chopped
1 can light coconut milk

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil and the curry paste. Stir for a few minutes until the paste starts to sizzle. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Reduced heat to a gentle simmer and simmer, covered for 10 or 15 minutes. If the mixture seems too thick, add a bit of water.
Serve over rice.

At Kalyn's kind suggestion, I am going to submit this post for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Coffee and Cornbread. Thanks Kalyn!

Previous Alphabet Posts:
A is for Artichoke
B is for Beet
C is for Carrot
D is for Dogs
E is for Egg
F is for Fondue
G is for Garlic
H is for Hamburger
I is for Indian Food
J is for Jamie Oliver


Anonymous said...

Your Alphabet is working well!
I've looked for Kaffir Lime Leaves but not seen them except in recipes.
Like to try that Green Chicken Curry.

Kalyn Denny said...

I love the flavor of kaffir lime. My step sister has a tree and she mails them to me!

BTW, no pressure at all, but this would be perfect for Weekend Herb Blogging if you felt like entering it. There's a link on my site that tells who's hosting if you're interested. I don't even remember anyone writing about kaffir lime before, but they might have since this is week #65!

Morgan said...

OOh! Those are avaliable in Calgary? Where?? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Your Canadian...shouldn't K be for Kraft dinner :)

foodiechickie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
foodiechickie said...

I've had a rough time finding it fresh but I found a pack of dry at an Indian market. Score!

Brilynn said...

I've never seen kaffir lime leaves around here, but I read recipes that call for them and wonder how much flavour I'm missing out on...

Anonymous said...

I don't think I've ever heard of those before. Thanks for all the information.

Fiber said...

Wow - those thai shrimp and crab cakes sound awesome!

Sara said...

Tanna - thanks I am enjoying my alphabet and already thinking about round 2! Yes, they are very hard to find.

Kalyn, you and your sister are lucky! Thanks for the suggestion, I've send it off to WHB.

PW - sadly these ones are the last of a batch I bought in Vancouver. I did once get some dried lime leaves from Cookbook Company though.

Peabody - for you, next time, I promise!

Foodiechickie - I've got some dried ones too - keep me posted on what you do with them!

Brilynn - I read that you can substitute the juice and lime of regular limes. It wouldn't be quite as good, but similar.

Mags - thanks, glad you liked it!

Fibre - yes they were!

Morgan said...

Vancouver, eh? My sister is at UBC and will, if I beg enough, bring me things. Sorry for being so demanding, but where in Vancouver? :)

Ruth Daniels said...

Everything sounds awesome. Now I have some great recipes for the lime leaves I bought.

Of course, now I'm visiting my daughter in Halifax and the leaves are back at home in Toronto....Oh well, I'll bookmark this page for when I get back.

Thanks for sharing.

Sara said...

Morgan - i got them from the spice stall in granville island. i can't think of the name.

Ruth - thanks! Hope everything is going well in Halifax.

Anonymous said...

These lime leaves can be found at an Epicurious party - I just picked up a box of dried ones and was out looking for recipes when I found this amazing site!