Some time ago I mentioned lime leaves and how important they are to curry. Did I mention I have nine lime trees growing in my backyard? No? Then I probably did not tell you that my sister Som started these trees at the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus many years ago. She has a Ph.D. in Soil Science and was trying to get Thai lime trees to grow in Minnesota.
Som did a very good job with her lime trees, but we still make sure we get them indoors before the first frost. I do not know of anything from Thailand that loves ice, not unless you are talking about a cold beverage!
I cannot imagine serving Thai food without having lime leaves in the kitchen. When Heavy Table's Susan Pagani interviewed me (link), lime leaves came up in our conversation four times! Even back in 2003 when Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl interviewed me for her first review of True Thai, we talked about lime leaves.
Lime leaves are an important part of True Thai's menu, and you enjoy their flavor when you eat many of our curries. But you never actually eat the lime leaves because they are too hard and would not digest well. Fortunately, their flavor infuses any food they are cooked with.
We make our curry stock downstairs but even then the lime leaves' distinctive odor makes it all the way upstairs through the kitchen and out into the dining area. Customers smile when they smell it because lime leaves smell as good as they taste.
If you go to Asian grocery stores and are lucky enough to find some lime leaves, wikiHOW has a good tutorial on how to use them.