Makrut Lime

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

makrut lime Citrus hystrix, a member of the citrus family which is important in SE Asian cookery, is known as makrut in Thailand. In English, it has been called ‘makrut lime’ by several authorities, notably Saunt (1990); and this name is preferable to ‘kaffir lime’, for reasons explained under kaffir.

The fruit itself, which is golf-ball sized and knobbly, yields a very little juice, and is too acidic and bitter for culinary uses. However, the finely grated aromatic skin is used to sharpen the taste of a dish and it is the highly aromatic leaves which are a more common ingredient and appear in SE Asian dishes with a frequency bordering on automaticity. They have a figure of eight shape, and it is usual to tear them into halves or small pieces before adding them to dishes, removing them when cooking is completed.