Kaffir Lime Leaves: 5 Creative Culinary Ways To Use The Herb
Image Credit: Simply Suwanee

Kaffir lime leaves, the bright green leaves from the Thai lime or Markut lime plant, is a fragrant herb that is used widely across Thai, Indonesian and Cambodian cuisines. Adding a fresh, zesty flavour to recipes like soups, broths and curries, these hourglass-shaped leaves have a wider range of culinary uses to which they can be applied. Available in fresh as well as powdered variants, the fresh leaves have a bright citrus flavour whereas the powder has a deeper zest, similar to that of lime or lemon zest.


Image Credits: Grantourismo Travels

Making a jar of cucumber pickles or pickled onions? Add a couple of fresh kaffir lime leaves to the brine for an accentuated citrus hit. Infuse the pickling broth made with vinegar, water, sugar, salt and whole spices like cinnamon, garlic, black pepper and bay leaf, with a bright tanginess that the leaves provide, when rested for a considerable period of time, in the jar marinating the pickles.


Whether it is a light chicken broth or a deeply-flavoured mutton broth, kaffir lime leaves add a delicious fresh scent along with lots of flavour. This kaffir lime-scented broth can be used as a base for sauces, to cook noodles or pasta in or even as a great liquid for a comforting bowl of chicken noodle stew. The unique flavour that the leaves impart to the broth, allow for it to feel lighter and fresher on the palette.

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Curry Paste

Image Credits: Taste

What is a good curry paste worth if not packed with the flavours of lemongrass, chillies, garlic and some citrus hit from kaffir lime? Not only do these leaves work beautifully to contribute a layer of flavour to Thai curry pastes, they are also quite delicious to use in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine recipes. Marinate your chicken for shawarma with a couple of kaffir lime leaves, or add a ribboned leaf as garnish over a salty feta salad for that extra zing.

Sugar Syrup

If the foundation of a good summer cocktail for you is something loaded with citrus flavour, then infusing your simple syrup or sugar syrup for margaritas and glazes for lemon cakes, is the way to go. Adding these aromatic leaves to a simmering saucepan of syrup while it is still hot, allows for the flavour to permeate deeply and combine with whatever purpose the sugar syrup will eventually serve.

Infused Vodka

Why stop at infusing syrups or adding kaffir lime to savoury recipes, when you can stick a handful of leaves into a bottle of vodka, and leave it to work its magic for a couple of weeks? If you’re a flavoured vodka lover, or want to gift something more personal to friends, this easy bar idea also doubles up as the perfect gift to bring someone. Strain the leaves from the vodka after a couple of weeks and store in a cool, dark shelf.