Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Inspired by Chinatown part three - Kaffir Lime Pops

You can drink a martini without olives but let's be honest, without that salty infusion, it's not quite a martini.  And yes, you could eat baked french fries but they wouldn't be french fries.  They'd be some lame potato your mom tries to pass off on you in lieu of the good stuff.  Much to most folks' chagrin, grease and salt are often essential to the experience.  

Essential, that is what the kaffir lime leaf is to Thai food.  

Apparently, lots of people in Thailand grow this bush in their yards so cooking Thai food without it simply won't do.  Consider this excerpt from the poem Wild Geese by Mary Oliver:

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — 
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things.

For Thai cooking, the Kaffir lime leaf has a distinct place "in the family of things."  It adds that light, bright, floral flutter in a sea of coconut milk or curry.  And while it is from a citrus tree, it will always be the blossom and not the fruit.  These are full-blooded siblings yet the leaf bears only a passing resemblance to it's more aggressive kin.  But what other ways are there to use it?

Kaffir lime leaves at Bangkok Center Grocery

My extremely close friend BVL (and by "extremely close friend" I mean, "I paid to meet the guy once"), suggested that I make a sorbet from the leaves, but true to nature, I went lowbrow instead.  Behold, the Kaffir Lime Pop:

Kaffir Lime Pops  

12 Kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
2 cups of water
1 c sugar
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice

Boil lime leaves with water and sugar.  Let simmer for five minutes.  Remove from heat and let steep for ten.  Strain the syrup retain the lime leaves in a separate bowl.  Let cool to room temperature.  Add the lime juice and enough water to make three cups of liquid.  Replace half the lime leaves, if desired.  Pour in moulds and freeze.



  1. This sounds so refreshing. And I think I could actually make this one myself!

  2. Give it a shot - so far, my boyfriend says these where his faves!