Spices and Seasons – Kaffir Lime Leaves


I am a fresh obsessed freak and love fresh herbs and spices when it comes to cooking. While I use the usual set of spices, what I really cook with is a combination of ginger, garlic and an assortment of herbs and lime. One of these are the fragrant and fresh lime leaves.

Kaffir Lime leaves or lime leaves are as the name suggests, are the leaves of the lime tree. These leaves are often present in my refridgerature and I add them to marinades from grilling and Thai cuisine is incomplete without them. Outside of Indian cooking, the cuisine that I dabble with a lot is the cuisine of Thailand. I love the clean spicy notes of the cuisine, the comforting curries, the noodles the whole nine yards. Yes, this is my way of telling you that you will see a fair amount of those flavors in this column.

The Kaffir Lime is a native of Thailand and Indonesia, and the lime and the leaves are used in both these cuisines. The leaves keep well in the refridgerator for a few weeks, but can also be frozen effectively. Speaking of staples, on of my refrigerator staples is wild salmon, usually the sockeye variety. Although this week, I had some frozen silver brite salmon. I am trying to wind down the frozen fish supplies since, I have finally found a fish supplier near us that I am happy with.

Once, I had identified the main dish, so to speak, I was trying to figure out a way to cook it that would work for all of us. I tried poaching it with classic Thai seasonings and continuing the theme of ingredients to arrive at a moist and flavorful salad.  The red pepper flakes were tossed in at the end for us.

This recipe was an amazing surprise and fits in beautifully into the summer table, and adds a touch of soothing brightness with its soft colors. Lobster roll lovers might want to give this recipe a try.

Thai Inspired Wild Salmon Salad 

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6


  • 1 and 1/2 pounds wild salmon fillets
  • 3 to 4 kafir lime leaves, torn
  • 1 and ½ tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 4 tablespoons red onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ fresh lime
  • 1 small fresh, thinly sliced cucumber
  • 1 fresh whole grain baguette
  • Olive oil for dusting

Method of Preparation

  • 1. In a large flat wok or saucepan, add the salmon, lime leaves, fish sauce, water and ginger.
  • 2. Cover and poach for 7 to 8 minutes, the fish should be just cooked though.
  • 3. Drain the liquid and remove the lime leaves. Skin the salmon, if there is any skin on the fish.
  • 4. Place in a mixing bowl.
  • 5. In a separate bowl mix the mayonnaise and peanut butter thoroughly and then add to the salmon and mix well with the fork, to flake the fish but leave some texture.
  • 6. Mix in the red onion, chopped cilantro, red pepper flakes and squeeze in the lime juice and mix well.
  • 7. Thinly slice the cucumber.
  • 8. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, slice the baguette and brush with olive oil.
  • 9. Place the slices on a baking dish and cook for 6 minutes, until nice and warm.
  • 10. Pile with the salad, top with cucumber and serve.

Rinku Bhattacharya is a daytime financial professional, who spends the rest of her time immersed in food. Rinku is the author of the blog, Cooking in Westchester, where she shares her life experiences, original recipes that combine Indian spices with produce from her backyard and local farmers markets. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past six years, and has found her classes a great way to teach and learn.

Her cookbook the Bengali Five Spice Chronicles, is scheduled to be published in November 2012. Rinku can be found on facebook, twitter and pinterest.



About Author

Rinku Bhattacharya, the Spices & Seasons blogger, loves meshing seasonal produce with fresh spices. Most of her recipes are inspired by her Indian heritage, and her cooking is practical, easy and well suited for a busy lifestyle on the go. As a mother with two young children, her recipes are also usually balanced and kid-friendly. Rinku is the author of the blog, Spice Chronicles (formerly,Cooking in Westchester), where she shares her life experiences and original recipes. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past nine years. Rinku is the author of two cookbooks: The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles an award winning (Gourmand 2013) cookbook that highlights culture, memories and recipes from her childhood transformed where needed for her Lohud kitchen and Spices and Seasons that marries Indian flavors with local and seasonal produce. Rinku can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and is also a contributor for Zester Daily.


  1. I have been getting mine from H-Mart in Hartsdale. I am not sure if Kam Sen market carries them as well. Now H-mart usually has them but not always. They sell them in pretty large packs, but these leaves freeze well.

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