Thursday, August 5, 2010

dried limes

I don't like a marag (tomato-based stew) if it isn't sour. Not a strong sourness, but an element that heightens the aromas of the tomatoes and spices and brings a more profound harmony to the dish. Lemons are too sweet, dried limes work perfectly. Their essence is more than just that of limes, though - it also has a slightly mulled aroma which is so subtle but is such a pivotal undertone to this ingredient.

Wash them well and puncture a few holes on the surface and allow the dried limes to steep in a warm liquid for a while. This works well in teas, soups, stews... I even tried adding them to some lamb that i braised in the oven. Excellent results again. I have to reiterate how much I really like this ingredient.

Another way to use them is to break them up into a powder - just make sure you remove the bitter seeds from the inside of the dried lime before you pulverize them in a grinder. Add to some oil with some other spices to use as a rub. Good for all kinds of meats, fowl and seafood and grill.

I would also consider using them in some kind of sauce to go with Vietnamese spring rolls. But i'd have to make sure that there's some sweetness as well. If i were considering a regional inspiration, I wonder how it would taste with puree of dates and soy sauce. The thai concept of harmony in food is a great one. sweet + salty + sour + spicy (+ umami.)

Dried limes were invented in Oman and have spread throughout the region and northern india.

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