How to Slice Kaffir Lime Leaves

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Kaffir lime leaves

There is nothing so wondrous as a kaffir lime leaf.

These deep, glossy, emerald-green leaves impart a heavenly aroma: it’s a scent of rich citrus, as if already infused with coconut and spice. The addition of kaffir lime leaves can make or break an Asian dish, especially Thai cuisine, and the zest of kaffir limes (which look like odd, nubbly versions of regular limes) is an integral part of many curry pastes.

Is there a substitute for kaffir lime leaf? Maybe, but I can’t imagine anything that would add the same delicious impact.

There are numerous ways to add kaffir lime leaf to a dish – you can bruise it, you can tear it, you can add it whole. Or, you can slice it finely. Here’s how I learned to do that in Bangkok.

Take the leaves (most kaffir limes leaves are in double sections) and fold them over so you can grasp the spine, as pictured above; remove the spine. Stack the leaves on top of one another, shiny side up. Roll into a tiny scroll, and then slice finely.

Add a number of kaffir lime leaves, sliced in this manner, to a dish, or use as a garnish. I was surprised in Thai cooking class how many kaffir lime leaves we used — perhaps more than six to a dish. So in doubt, add a few more … and enjoy the result.

5 Responses to “How to Slice Kaffir Lime Leaves”

  1. » Blog Archive » Coconut Curry with Greens Says:

    […] head of broccoli florets handful of string beans, chopped 1 head bok choy, sliced kaffir lime leaf, sliced for garnish 4 red chilis, de-seeded and […]

  2. » Blog Archive » My New Kaffir Lime Tree! Says:

    […] lime leaves can be finely sliced, or added to dishes whole, bruised or torn. (See related post on How to Slice Kaffir Lime Leaves.) They’re hardy leaves that freeze very well — I usually pick up a supply, then keep […]

  3. » Blog Archive » My New Pan – and Spicy Southern Curry with Swordfish Says:

    […] stock 1 bulb lemongrass (lower third of stalk) 1 stalk lemongrass, sliced 4-6 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced (reserve some for garnish) 3 chilis (slit lengthwise, or chopped for more heat) handful snowpeas […]

  4. » Blog Archive » A Task for Perfectionists Says:

    […] written before about how to shred kaffir lime leaves, a technique that I’ve recently learned is called “chiffonade.” I don’t […]

  5. » Blog Archive » A Boxing Day Curry Says:

    […] recipe, not as complex or labor-intensive as a proper Thai curry. ┬áIf you happen to have kaffir lime leaves on hand, chiffonade and throw them in, […]

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