Leafy perfume

Makrut limes

Illustration by Maria Ratinova

Of all the citrus available in California markets, makrut limes may have the most politically correct name. They’re also known as “kaffir” limes, but “kaffir” is an ethnic slur in Arabic and African countries. The name “makrut” comes from Southeast Asia, where the leaves and rind of the fruit commonly flavor dishes. The knobby little fruits grow on thorny bushes and don’t produce a lot of juice. However, the rind is used in curry pastes and infused liqueurs. You’ll find makrut leaves gently perfuming tom yum and South Indian curries.