Cooking with Kaffir Lime Leaves

Cooking with Kaffir Lime Leaves: Recipes and Tips


Kaffir lime leaves, known for their distinctive citrusy aroma and flavor, are a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine. They add a unique and refreshing taste to a variety of dishes, from soups and curries to salads and stir-fries. In this blog post, we’ll explore the culinary uses of kaffir lime leaves, share some delicious recipes, and provide tips for cooking with this fragrant herb.

What are Kaffir Lime Leaves?

Kaffir lime leaves come from the kaffir lime tree (Citrus hystrix), a tropical fruit tree native to Southeast Asia. The leaves are glossy, dark green, and have a distinctive double-lobed shape. They are highly aromatic, with a strong citrus scent that is both floral and tangy.

Culinary Uses

Kaffir lime leaves are used to add a burst of citrus flavor to a variety of dishes. They can be used fresh or dried, whole or sliced, and are often added to soups, curries, and stir-fries. The leaves are typically removed before serving, as they are quite tough.

Tips for Cooking with Kaffir Lime Leaves

  1. Preparation: Rinse the leaves under cold water to remove any dirt. Pat them dry with a paper towel.
  2. Usage: For soups and curries, add the whole leaves during cooking and remove them before serving. For stir-fries and salads, finely slice the leaves to release their flavor.
  3. Storage: Store fresh kaffir lime leaves in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. For longer storage, freeze the leaves in an airtight container or plastic bag.


1. Tom Yum Soup


  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2-inch pieces and smashed
  • 5-6 kaffir lime leaves, torn into pieces
  • 3 slices galangal or ginger
  • 2-3 Thai chilies, smashed
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 200g shrimp, chicken, or tofu
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (or soy sauce for a vegetarian option)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish


  1. In a large pot, bring the broth to a boil.
  2. Add the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and Thai chilies. Simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the flavors.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp, chicken, or tofu and cook until done.
  5. Stir in the fish sauce and lime juice.
  6. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.

2. Thai Green Curry


  • 2 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
  • 200g chicken, beef, or tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (e.g., bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant)
  • 5-6 kaffir lime leaves, torn into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (or soy sauce for a vegetarian option)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish


  1. In a large saucepan, heat the green curry paste over medium heat until fragrant.
  2. Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add the chicken, beef, or tofu and cook until done.
  4. Add the mixed vegetables and kaffir lime leaves. Cook until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Stir in the fish sauce and sugar.
  6. Garnish with fresh basil leaves before serving.

3. Kaffir Lime Leaf Rice


  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 3-4 kaffir lime leaves, torn into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Rinse the jasmine rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice, water, kaffir lime leaves, and salt.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the water is absorbed.
  4. Remove the kaffir lime leaves before serving.


Kaffir lime leaves are a versatile and aromatic addition to many dishes, bringing a unique citrus flavor to Southeast Asian cuisine. Whether you’re making a comforting Tom Yum Soup, a fragrant Thai Green Curry, or a simple yet flavorful Kaffir Lime Leaf Rice, these leaves will elevate your cooking. Experiment with these recipes and tips to discover the delightful taste of kaffir lime leaves in your culinary creations.