June 15, 2017

Need a Kaffir Lime Leaves Substitute? The Best You Need to Check Out

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If you're planning on creating a whole new dish, then you'll want to make sure that you have the proper seasonings and herbs for it to taste amazing! One type of herb you can use as natural flavoring would be Kaffir lime leaves, known for their many benefits and zesty flavors! But if you have none of this ingredient in your home, you'll need Kaffir lime leaves substitute to keep your dish tasting yummy without the worry!

But what exactly are the best substitutes that would match the similar flavor and consistency of your dish? Read on as I give you the best alternatives for Kaffir lime leaves and how you can incorporate them into your meals!

What Are Kaffir Lime Leaves?​

​What are these leaves anyway and what makes them so unique? These leaves are thick, shiny, and dark green leaves with two connecting ones. These have a citrusy flavor mixed with a touch of green piquancy, which adds vibrancy to any dish, especially coming from the Southeast Asian cuisine.

The plant that produces these leaves also offers lime as well, so you should expect a pungency and zest to it that makes it have a unique taste. You can opt to have dried or fresh leaves, topping it over your curry or soups. Take note that they are too tough to be eaten raw or alone!

They are also very easy to store as well, with fresh leaves lasting up to two weeks in the fridge. If frozen, they can last for over a year without the change of flavor or color.

These leaves are also very beneficial for our health, making it an excellent choice for natural flavoring to dishes.

​What Do You Use Kaffir Lime Leaves For?

But besides curries and soups, what more is this leaf known for? It's very versatile so that it can work on many dishes! There are various ways to use Kaffir lime leaves, such as:​

  • Asian Dishes: You'll be able to add zest to many Asian dishes, such as Tom Yum and fish cakes (Thai), Indonesian curries, flavoring for Basmati rice, or even for shrimp soup!
  • Marinade: These zesty leaves can make a great marinade for your pork, lamb, or chicken dishes.
  • Sauce: The leaves can also make a lovely syrup for a sweet and sour touch, or even Krueng, a paste used for many Asian dishes.
  • Bathing: Adding the Kaffir lime leaves to your bath water will leave a citrusy fragrance that will have you smell even better.
  • Fragrance: Known for their aromatic scent, you can make the leaves into a form of perfume by diluting them with water and adding a candle on top of it to let the scent waft around your room.
  • Freshen Skin: Rubbing bruised leaves around your hands will have your skin look fresh AND smell great!

​Depending on the substitution of leaves you decide to get, you can also use these alternatives for the purposes mentioned above!

Kaffir Lime Leaves Substitute: The Top Six​

​What are healthy substitutions you can use if you've got no Kaffir lime leaves around the house, or if someone's allergic and can't stand the taste? Here are the best (and easy to obtain!) alternatives:

Dried Kaffir Lime Leaf

If you only have the dried version of the Kaffir lime leaves at home, then you can use this recipe for every FRESH Kaffir lime leaf needed for the dish:

  • One dried Kaffir lime leaf
  • Quarter teaspoon of lime zest OR FRESH lemon thyme.

Mix these two ingredients together, then add it to your dish.

Bay leaf

This alternative is one of the most efficient, as it tasted very similar to the fresh Kaffir lime leaf itself.

For every fresh Kaffir lime leaf needed, use:

  • Half of a small bay leaf
  • Quarter teaspoon of lime zest OR half a quarter teaspoon of FRESH lemon thyme.

Again, mix them together and top it on your dish.

Lime zest and thyme

These two ingredients contain the citrusy flavoring you need to match the Kaffir lime leaf. Use this for every fresh Kaffir lime leaf required in the recipe:

  • Half a teaspoon of like zest
  • Quarter teaspoon of fresh lemon thyme

If you have no lemon thyme (for the three mentioned blends), then you can use lemon verbena. Take note that that the taste won't be as similar to Kaffir lime leaf as compared to using lemon thyme.

Persian Limes

These limes are also known as Tahiti limes, which have the same flavor notes the Kaffir lime leaf has. This alternative is better for soups or curries, as you are using the lime's juice.

Cut the lime in half and squeeze its citrus to the dish. The limes are seedless, so no need to worry about fishing the seeds out from your dish. You can also use the lime's zest if desired.

If you have no Persian limes on hand, then you can also try using other citrus fruits, such as lemon, which has the zest you need.

Citrus Leaves

If you have none of the other alternatives and need something to substitute the leaves quickly, then using similar citrus leaves may be as effective, though without the strong fragrance you expect.

Since citrus leaves (such as oranges or lemons) won't have the enough fragrance, you can use more of them. Try adding 1.5 times more citrus leaves than the recipe requires and then taste the dish. If it needs more flavor, then add more.​

Curry Leaves

If you are creating Indonesian curry and need more of a kick, then curry leaves are another alternative. Take note that they are very different from lime leaves but have some of the similar citrus flavors you expect. Just remember that you can't eat the curry leaves, so remove them before serving your curry dish.

​Tips on Using a Kaffir Lime Leaves Substitute for Your Dishes

Now that you know what you can choose as a Kaffir lime leaves substitute, how can you properly use them? Here are some tips:​

  • When storing ANY Kaffir lime leaves alternative, especially other types of herbs, make sure to put them in a container and in the fridge, where they can last for a few weeks. Check how long they will last for. If you need it for a few months, then store it in the freezer.
  • Use the appropriate Kaffir lime leaves substitution depending on the type of dish you'll be whipping up. Any slight change can affect your food's flavor and consistency, so only add a little bit of the Kaffir lime leaves substitute. If it satisfies you, then add more until it reaches your desired taste and texture.
  • You can purchase any of these alternatives fresh from the farmer's market. It's best to get the ingredients from physical stores so you can see how fresh it is.

​In Conclusion

When it comes to cooking up a fantastic dish for your next potluck or family dinner, then you can try Kaffir lime leaves! These have a slightly sour note people would love, as it complements many savory dishes. But if you're out of the leaves or can't use them for personal reasons, then it's time to find the best Kaffir lime leaves substitute according to the way your dish should look and taste like!

I hope that this article on the Kaffir lime leaves substitute list helped you learn more about the different alternatives you can use and what dishes you can use them in. So what are you waiting for? Try any of these Kaffir lime elves substitutes today and enjoy the many benefits it has to offer!

If you enjoyed the article or would like so share your opinions on good Kaffir lime leaves substitutes, then comment down below! I would love to hear what you have to think.​

    Claire J. Ruiz

    I'm Claire, and my passion is cooking. I believe that food is what actually unites people and the dining table is where we set aside our differences. When we eat we become vulnerable because enjoying food requires a different level of trust and surrender to the person preparing your food. Sharing and enjoying food is one of the most intimate experiences in life.​

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