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A staple of South East Asian cookery, fresh limejuice combined with fish sauce and hot chillies and a little palm sugar is about as addictive as food gets for me, I never tire of the combination.


Like lemons, they have a remarkable ability to bring flavours to the fore, adding vibrancy to soups, salads, curries and desserts. There are two main types of lime, the common variety grown in the Caribbean and South America and the kaffir lime of South East Asia. The former has a shiny, dark green and smooth skin and is the most common variety found in Europe and the West. The kaffir lime has a knobbled skin and has a more distinctive smell and taste and its leaves are vital to many Asian dishes where they are used in a similar way to bay leaves.

Fresh lime leaves are difficult to get hold of on any sort of regular basis, avoid the freeze-dried ones and look in an Asian supermarket for dried leaves. Check the colour and size, avoid ones, which look a little bleached, or small and bity and look for larger and darker leaves. When using them, just slightly bruise them in your hand to help release the flavour, use them sparingly as they can easily overpower.

Juice the fruits as and when required to maximize the freshness, if you find yourself without any please donít use bottled limejuice, like lemon juice it seems as far removed from the fresh alternative as one can get. Wedges of the fruit should be served alongside Asian and Mexican dishes, an extra squeeze over a fiery Mexican chilli is a must have.

Content and picture © Miles Collins