Saturday, June 17, 2006

Pork Dumplings in a Kaffir Lime Leaf Broth

Weekend Herb Blogging is back home with Kalyn and this week I'll be focusing on a plant from our neighbours.

kaffir lime leaf© by haalo

Kaffir Lime trees are native to south east Asia and they produce two useful products - one is the Kaffir Lime itself, a small and hard, knobbly fleshed fruit, it doesn't produce much juice so the rind is used instead. The other is the subject of this post - the Kaffir Lime Leaf.

1kaffir lime leaf© by haalo

As you can see, it's a double, dark green coloured leaf - the underside is quite lighter. Some can be darker than that shown on the right and as you can see from the first photo they can also be a little lighter. There's also quite a bit of variance in the size. Medicinally Kaffir Limes are good for the digestion and they have quite a clean, fresh taste. There's a tanginess without the bitterness. You'll find these used a lot in Thai cooking.

A very simple use of the leaf is to just bruise it and add to a stock (as I'll do in the accompanying recipe) - this just lifts the flavour and gives it soothing characteristic. Otherwise it's recommended that you chiffonade the leaf and it can be eaten in salads and curries.

To chiffonade lime leaf, roll it along it's length from the stem to the tip and then cut as finely as possible to get those long thin slivers.

The recipe I'm making today is adapted from Donna Hay it's a very simple but elegant soup.

Pork Dumplings in a Kaffir Lime Leaf Broth© by Haalo

Pork Dumplings in a Kaffir Lime Leaf Broth

150g pork mince (mince it yourself from lean pork for better taste)
2 teaspoons Char Siew Sauce (or Hoisin Sauce)
2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
20 gow gee wrappers (or wonton wrappers)

4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
3 thick slices of peeled fresh ginger
4 kaffir lime leaves, bruised
extra lime leaf, for decoration

To make the dumplings:
In a bowl add the pork mince, Char Siew sauce and coriander leaves. Mix well - best done with your hands as this works the meat proteins and gives you the most evenly mixed product.

Take one wrapper and lightly moisten the edge with cold water. Add a teaspoon of pork into the centre and then fold in half to form a half moon shape. Place this on your index finger and taking the ends curl them under this finger to form a tortellini like shape. Try not to overfill the wrapper or it will be difficult to close it properly. You should get about 20 dumplings from this mixture.

Pork Dumplings© by Haalo

Once they are made put them in the fridge while you make the broth.

In a saucepan add the chicken stock, lime leaves and ginger and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes for the flavours to infuse and the stock to heat up. Add the dumplings and continue on a gentle simmer, cook for another 5 minutes. You'll know when the dumplings are done as the underside tends to pucker and wrinkle.

To serve:
For a dinner party I would serve 5 dumplings per person. Place the dumplings on each bowl, strain the soup to remove the ginger and lime leaves, then stir into the strained stock the chiffonade of lime leaf. Spoon this over the dumplings and serve.

Pork Dumplings in a Kaffir Lime Leaf Broth© by Haalo

A simple soup, full of goodness, the stock having absorbed the flavours of ginger and lime leaf, produces quite a refreshing broth that just from it's taste you know it's doing you good.


  1. I love these. I have a step-sister in California who has a tree and she mails them to me, then I keep them in the freezer. Not as good as fresh, but it's the best I can do. I love how you have used them to season your soup too.

  2. Kaffir is soooo good. I saw a Donna Hay recipe that looks similar and wanted to try it. It seems so fragrant. Once my fiance made pasta and mistook kaffir leaves that I had dried and set aside for bay leaves. Needless to say our lime flavoured napoletana sauce was not a success.

  3. Just realised this is the Donna Hay recipe!!!

  4. I can almost taste that, it looks so good. Simple and satisfying.

  5. Hi Kalyn, like most things fresh gives you more flavour but frozen is better than not having any at all.

    HI Anna - I wasn't quite happy with the original DH recipe when I made it in the past, it called for hoisin sauce and also soy sauce to be added to the broth. The quantity of hoisin was over the top and made the dumplings way too sweet, the soy gave the broth this unappealing brownish tinge and overran the ginger and lime leaf flavours. The changes I've made makes it a lot lighter and more soothing.

    Hi Tankeduptaco - it is extremely simple and very quick to do and has a wonderful fragrance - eat the dumplings and then savour the broth. Perfect for a night like tonight.

  6. Hi! Me again! I just tagged you for Confessions in Groups of Five meme. Hope you don't mind doing it.

  7. Wow, your neighbor actually has these growing in the garden! I really love the unique flavor of these and twice so far, have bought them fresh in Asian markets in the States, dried them myself and imported them to Italy. My favorite keffir lime leaf dish is a lot like what you made but with coconut milk.

  8. Mmm, looks delicious. I've also got a kaffir lime tree growing in my back courtyad, its fantastic being able to pick the leaves fresh as you need them.

  9. Hi Kalyn - thanks for the tag!

    Hi Susan - It's surprising that you can't get the leaves fresh, I thought the climate would have been okay for growing these. Mustn't really be a demand?

    Hi Ange - the fresh leaves do a quality to "lift" the food they are in.

  10. That looks fabulous!

    Hmmm, I really should look through my two Donna Hay books again. I confess that I've drooled over the photos but I've never made any of the recipes!


  11. AnonymousJune 20, 2006

    Thanks for the recipe. I love dumplings and i will definitely give this one a try.

    Your photos are beautiful!

  12. Hi Elizabeth - The photography of Con Poulos is the real secret to Donna Hay - he certainly has created a style to drool over.

    Hi Mae - Thanks! These are really quick to make and good intro into dumpling making.

  13. AnonymousJune 20, 2006

    Hi Haalo,

    Thank you for this wonderful post and the information. I'd heard about kaffir lime leaves for so long but have never seen them and did not know much about them. I don't know how available they would be here in Toronto ... but still ... it's good to know.

    As always, wonderful recipe!

  14. Hi Ivonne - Thanks! You should be able to find them in asian grocer's or a place like chinatown, though they might be frozen rather than fresh but that shouldn't really effect the taste too much or you could use lemongrass, it shares similar notes and characteristics and would give that same soothing quality.

  15. I was just wondering what to do with the eggroll wrappers I bought.

    Now let's hope I can find Kaffir or lemongrass here - not always easy.

    This is perfect! Thanks for sharing.

  16. Hi Ruth and Thanks! If you can't find either than just using the fresh ginger slices will give it a nice warming zing and lift the stock into something a little less ordinary.

  17. hey
    looking for the kaffir lime seed

  18. Rakik
    not sure what you mean by kaffir lime seed.
    If you want to grow this plant then you need to buy a tree - it's a citrus tree.
    You'd need to find a plant nursery that sells the grafted stock.


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