I’m a little bit obsessed with citrus. I’ve even tried to grow some with limited success: the Meyer lemon tree produced just one delicately floral lemon then promptly died. The kaffir lime bush is no more. The kumquat plant is deceased never to garnish my stove with saumon en papillote again.
I’m still on the lookout for fresh yuzu, I expended much energy a couple of years ago, trying to persuade grapefruit farmers to grow fresh yuzu. This is only available in Japan, but you can get the paste and nowadays the juice here. Even Jamie Oliver talked about it on his show, so yuzu is entering the mainstream as an ingredient.
My latest citrus crush is Bengali lime. For about £1.40 you can buy a large knobbly green lime, in any area, like Whitechapel in London, where Bengalis live and shop. It’s totes amaze balls.
Dig your thumbnail into the flesh and sniff, you are transported to more exotic climes. The scent filled my kitchen when I used it to flavour roast cod. I think it is called ‘Gondhoraj Lebu’ in Bengali. But they might also be called ‘Shatkora’ according to Kavey’s blog. Reading the comments on her blog, it is clear that there is a whole universe of Asian citrus to discover.
I trod carefully at first with the Bengali lime with this simple cod recipe, but then started to add the zest and juice to everything, including jam. The shopkeepers told me that Bengalis just eat the lime raw, with curry, or in a kachumber-like salad, or in a pickle.
Roast cod with Bengali lime, dill and soba noodles.
75ml Olive oil
2 x 200g filet of cod, pinned, skinned
1 Bengali lime, cut into slices
Fresh dill, chopped finely
1 stick of soba noodles (they are sold in bundles)
Preheat the oven to 200cº. On an olive oiled baking tray, place your cod filets, Add a slice of Bengali lime to the top of the fish, put the rest in the baking tin. Season with salt and fresh dill. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes.
Prepare a saucepan of salted boiling water, plunge the soba noodles into the water. Cook for five minutes then drain the noodles into a colander. Rinse with cold water.
Remove the roasted cod from the oven, reserving the liquid.
Plating: twirl the noodles in the centre of the plate, place the piece of cod on top. Ladle some of the bengali lime flavoured olive oil (the cooking juice) around the fish and noodles.
a little lusciousness
Beautiful photos. We have some sort of citrus tree – it looks like it grows kumquats, but they are NOT edible (as several greedy people have found out!) They look pretty though!
Have you found out what it is Rosie? I do remember some sort of decorative mini orange tree being sold around christmas, the fruit of which you couldn't eat, but I can't remember what it was called.
I've got a thank you for spurring on a discussion about Bengali fruit which resulted in a gift of shakora and subsequently a delicious Bangladeshi shatkora and beef curry! Wahay! According to my Bengali friend (and also Rick Stein), shatkora is similar to grapefruit. Indeed, the specimen he gave me was. I used Rick's recipe for a beef shatkora curry, and it was amazing. Spicy, sour and fragrant, rather different from other curries I've made. We absolutely loved it. My new favourite!
He said the above was a type of lemon, and they eat it chopped up in relishes/salads. There is also a smaller smoother-skin version which smells the same but is juicy. That one is used for juice.
I see both the knobbly and the smooth version in my local stores often, and buy them to use instead of kaffir limes for making curry pastes! they smell a bit like kaffir lime leaves and it works.
So the shakora and the knobbly lime/lemon are different? Any idea what the knobbly one is called?
Yes, they're definitely different. Here are some photos of shatkora. Mine looked just like the ripe one in the photo.
The knobbly one is called jara lemon, and the smooth one lebu.
Thanks Maninas, really useful. So Shatkora is a bit rounder, more grapefruit looking? And my big green knobbly one is called ghondaraj Jara?
Yeap. Shatkora also tastes a lot like grapefruit, but perhaps a touch sweeter.
I just bought a load of kalamansi limes back from Borneo. They're really tiny and really sweet with caramel coloured juice.
Kerstin Rodgers aka MsMarmiteLover
Ooh that sounds gorgeous! I'd love to try one