Friday, March 19, 2010

In Search of Kaffir Lime Leaves



Tonight's meal is going to be Thai inspired.  I picked up all of my spices yesterday but did not find any Kaffir Lime Leaves.  No problem, I thought, I will get them today when I get my fish.  Alarmingly, they did not have any at Uwajimaya.  Only a note posted reading "No Kaffir Lime Leaves until further notice".  Well, this is strange, I thought.  Maybe just a coincidence.  I hit two more asian markets.. none to be found.  Research required!
A brief search on the internet revealed some chatter about the missing Kaffir leaf.  Though I could not find anything directly on the USDA's site, it seems there's a quarantine in place.
Oh sad day.  There is nothing quite like the Kaffir.  It imparts a difficult to put a finger on flavor.  Limey, but not too acidic, flowery, but not sweet.  The scent is so clean and refreshing, you want to carry it around with you just to brighten your day. The most interesting thing I've ever made with it was a dish I saw in a movie.  Her secret ingredient to the Quail with Saffron Sauce was this mighty little leaf.  Not having it now, reminds me how many wonderful foods this gem can enhance.  What are Thai restaurants doing in lieu of this?  Bootlegging?  Smuggling?  Do they have a secret supply?  Oh, give us our little gem back.

(I should also mention thanks to Market Manila, from whom I copied the above photo.)

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