The taste of Middle Eastern soups and stews are brought to a new life with the use of a secret seasoning: Limu Omani. It was first widely used in Oman (hence “Omani”) but nowadays, it is a constant in Iranian cooking, such that you wouldn’t find the pantry of an Iranian home without it.
Drying and Storage
Dried lime is made by boiling fresh lime fruits in brine and drying the boiled fruits under the sun until the seeds and the pulp of the fruit shakes loosely within its leathery skin. Depending on the time that was spent in drying the fruit, the resulting colour of the dried lime can range anywhere from parchment brown to charcoal black. More often than not, lighter coloured ones are used for paler coloured dishes while black limes are best for dark soups and stews. When stored as a whole in room temperature, they can last for a couple of years.
Dried lime is best used as a seasoning, usually washed thoroughly and added as a whole in stews or sauces. You can poke it with a knife to allow the cooking liquid to penetrate the fruit, allowing it to release its intricate flavours. There are those who prefer to break their dried lime open to be seeded and ground. In this way, they turn it into a coarse or fine powder that is best sprinkled over seafood dishes or rubbed on fresh meat. They also complement lamb dishes perfectly.
Even if the fruit is dried, the hint of sourness, as well as the aromatic tang of the lime fruit is still present. It enhances the flavour of other seasonings such as curry leaves or turmeric, adding in an earthy and acidic note. Go ahead and try making a Persian dried lime soup because for sure, you will never regret it.
Persian Dried Lime Soup
In making an authentic Persian Dried Lime soup, prepare some onions, coconut oil, red lentils, basmati rice, some cumin and coriander seeds, as well as turmeric and vegetable stock, and of course, your dried lime. The oil will be used to caramelise the onions and blend in all the other spices, except the lime. After toasting for a couple of minutes, the spices will release their aroma. During this time, add in the rice and lentils.
When the rice and lentils are slightly toasted, deglaze your pan with a bit of water before adding in the vegetable stock, together with the dried lime. Simmer for an hour or until the lentils are soft and broken down. Season with some salt and a bit of lime juice before stirring in some chopped cilantro. Make sure to serve it hot and enjoy.
To wrap things up, go ahead and get your own dried lime seasoning and bring a new life to your soups and stews. Savour in that lovely, lemony, citrusy smell and tickle your taste buds with the earthy and smoky flavour it brings to your dishes. Not only will you transform your dishes, but you will reap the health benefits of lime too.