Have you ever heard of black lime? To give you a clue, it’s not a new variety of fruit. Also known as dried lime or limoo amani, it’s actually a type of seasoning used in oriental cuisine and is increasingly finding its way onto our dinner plates.

The hard citrus fruits are either black or brown and about the size of a walnut. They are cooked in countries such as Iran, Oman or Saudi Arabia and then dried in the sun, allowing them to be kept for a very long time. As well as the obvious citrus aroma, they are also used to add an acidic, bitter taste to a dish. The preservation process means they even bring earthy, fermented flavours to the cuisine.

The dried limes can be used either whole or in powdered form. If you cook with them whole, you should prick them repeatedly beforehand. So what’s the easiest way to try them? If you cook them with pasta or rice, you can then easily squeeze out the juice at the end. In their countries of origin, they are often used to flavour stews – personally, I like them in lentil dishes. In her cookbook «Gewürze» (meaning spices in English), top chef Tanja Grandits notes that you can also add dried lime to a dish using a sharp grater.


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