I admit it, I made an audible squeal at the grocery store when I saw the kaffir lime leaf the other week. It’s been ages since I’ve been able to find this amazing ingredient at any of my local grocery stores so I was thrilled to say the least!
Is it odd that food excites me to point of “eeking and ahhing”? Actually, the eeking and ahhing in excitement is also a family thing, my sisters and I could eek and ahh for 10 minutes straight to each other and somehow manage to have a fully understood conversation in the process. It kind of has a National Geographic quality to it.
So yes, I was excited.
Kaffir lime leaf comes from the kaffir lime which is used in traditional Thai and Laotian cooking. It has a very distinct smell and taste and reminds me a little bit of lemongrass with it’s bright citrusy flavour and scent. It’s unbelievably delicious and if you are a fan of Thai, you know it well.
When I spotted the package of lime leafs I instantly threw them in my cart and started to imagine all the ways I could incorporate these delicious leaves into my cooking! I am still working on a recipe that uses the leaves in a dessert type dish, but this savoury option came to mind right away. I opted to use the lime leaf in a coconut sauce that would be smothered over some simply grilled meat (I chose to go with chicken thighs) and sautéed vegetables.
I love balanced meals and my lunches and dinners are almost always a combination of a protein (chicken, turkey, fish, or eggs) an array of vegetables, and a healthy carbohydrate such as quinoa or sweet potatoes. I always feel satisfied and nourished when I balance my meals this way and so I chose to use the same building blocks for my kaffir lime dish.
I wanted the sauce to be rich, thick, and velvety so I chose to do something that may seem a little odd… but the outcome was great. I blended whole lime leafs with coconut milk, a little bit of honey and… almond meal! The almond meal added extra thickness to the sauce and gave it the perfect consistency I was looking for. After blending enough that it was smooth with a hint of texture from the almond meal, I simply warmed it up in a pan.
The aroma from the lime leaf combined with the coconut and honey was amazing. I let my hubby be in charge of the grill as I sautéed the vegetables in some oil with garlic and a touch of lemongrass to keep with the Thai theme and I also cooked a batch of red quinoa in the rice cooker.
The dish came together beautifully and looked wonderful with the bright bursting colours of the vegetables and the crispy grilled thighs all draped in the velvety kaffir lime coconut sauce… wouldn’t you agree??
Simple ingredients, minimal effort, and one special grocery store find was all it took for a dinner that will be made many times to come in our kitch, I can guarantee that!
- For the Kaffir Coconut Sauce:
- ½ cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2-3 whole kaffir lime leafs
- 1 tablespoon almond meal (flour)
- 4 chicken thighs seasoned with salt and pepper
- 2 cups vegetables of choice (I used bell pepper, mushrooms, kale, and onion)
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp lemongrass paste or crushed lemongrass
- ⅓ cup raw quinoa
- ⅔ cup organic chicken broth
- Season the chicken thighs and grill on the BBQ and cook the quinoa in a rice cooker or on the stovetop with the chicken broth.
- While the chicken and quinoa are cooking, prepare the coconut sauce.
- In a high speed blender add the ingredients for the sauce and blend until smooth. Remove from the blender and add to a pan over low heat.
- In another large pan over medium heat add the olive oil, garlic, lemongrass, and vegetables and sauté until tender crisp, about 4-5 minutes, then remove from heat.
- Stir the coconut sauce and increase the heat to medium until the sauce is nice and hot.
- On two plates divide the cooked quinoa and top with the sautéed vegetables, and 2 or 3 of the grilled chicken thighs, pour the hot coconut sauce over top and enjoy!
Have you ever cooked with Kaffir Lime Leaf? Are you a fan? What have you made? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
Nutritionist in the Kitch