Kaffir Lime Leaves (Citrus hystrix)
Kaffir Lime Leaves are used in many Southeast Asian cuisines. This leaf has a distinct citrus lemon flavour and is very fragrant. It is used to flavour soups, curries, meats and fish, and can also be used in salads.
The Kaffir Lime Leaf is normally added whole to the cooking and is very tough. It has a very strong flavour when chewed. When eating a dish with them in, just move them to the side of your plate.
This herb is very popular in Thai cuisine adding its distinct flavours to some great dishes like Tom Yum, Thai fish cakes, Thai curry pastes, Tom Khai to mention a few.
These leaves are not easy to find in your local supermarket, but can be bought online fresh or dried. I prefer to buy fresh or dried as they keep their flavour and can be easily stored. When cooking with these leaves they are normally used whole.
I really enjoy eating Tom Yum with prawns. It is a favourite with my family and easy to cook. You can buy good Tom Yum pastes online, and either just follow the instructions and cook a simple soup or you can add some other ingredients to make it more authentic.
So here I will show how easy it is to make a Tom Yum with prawns. You could also use chicken if you prefer. The other ingredients you will need are found in supermarkets and can be bought online as well.
I prefer to eat my Tom Yum with some lovely fresh steamed rice. So if you want rice then don't forget to put it into the rice cooker before you start the soup.
Serves 2-3 people
480 ml water
200 grams peeled prawns
100 gram straw or button mushrooms cut in half
10 x small shallots
2 x sticks of lemon grass cut into inch long pieces
3 x small red chilli cut into large sections
3 x kaffir lime leaves. Tear or break in half
1 x 50 gram pack of tom yum paste
Get a large saucepan and add the water then bring to the boil.
Place your lemon grass sections onto a chopping board and with something flat, i.e. the flat side of a knife, smash each piece so as to bruise and open it. Add this to the water with the kaffir leaves and shallots. Simmer for a good 5 minutes.
Now the water has a lovely aroma it is time to add the tom yum paste and stir it in. Leave to simmer for a few more minutes.
Lastly add the mushrooms and the prawns and give it a good stir. Leave to simmer. Once the prawns are cooked it is ready to serve