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HISTORY | DOGS | HOME | FOOD | GARDEN

The Indonesian Lime Tree

Craig and I both have our hair cut by our friend Lawan, who is from Thailand. We both spend the entire time we're there talking to her about her native land and about Thai cooking. Lawan took to bringing us hot sauce that she had made, and we liked it so much that one day she brought ingredients to make a shrimp soup (recipe can be found in the food section as Lawan's Heavenly Shrimp Soup) (her word, "heavenly," but an accurate description).

Among the strange things she included in the little bags of ingredients were what she called Thai bay leaves. They looked like citrus to me. Lawan said she had a tree that she had brought from Thailand. She has kept it going in a pot for 20 years now. She offered to bring me leaves whenever I wanted them, but I figured we had to have our own supply.

I found a picture of the distinctive leaf on the internet: it is Indonesian or Kaffir Lime. With a little more searching, I found Acorn Springs Farm in Texas. They sell trees. A fine, healthy little bare-root Kaffir lime tree arrived a few days later.

It waited all winter before it began to put out new leaves, so I had to place a moratorium on Lawan's soup to avoid denuding the tree. Now it is growing new branches and leaves faster than we can pick and cook with them. The taste is absolutely unique. You know as soon as you nibble an edge that it is the elusive flavor in Thai curries and soups.

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