Celeb chef Jamie Oliver to drop k-word from recipes featuring lime leaves

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24 June 2021 - 11:20 By hilary biller
Celeb chef Jamie Oliver will be referring to Makrut lime leaves simply as 'lime leaves' in future.
Celeb chef Jamie Oliver will be referring to Makrut lime leaves simply as 'lime leaves' in future.
Image: Theo Wargo/Getty Images and 123RF/Sophonnawit Inkaew

The hallmark of an authentic Thai dish is a balance of six flavours: sweet, sour, salty, spicy, creamy and bitter. It's this combo that makes this Asian cuisine so aromatic and gives it that zingy freshness.

The sourness, particularly in fish/seafood and pork dishes, comes from the extensive use of citrus leaves, and especially those of the Makrut lime tree.

Curiously, unlike any other citrus fruit, Makrut lime leaves are uniquely winged with two co-joined on one stalk. The fruit itself, which is a small green knobbly beast, offers little juice. Both pack a punch of zesty flavour though.

This ugly fruit has an equally ugly nickname: it's long been commonly referred to as the k-word lime. This racial slur even appeared on the packaging of Makrut lime leaves in major UK retailers until recently.

Earlier this week, a chorus of Britain's big supermarkets announced that they'd be dropping the k-word from their lime leaf products. Now celeb chef Jamie Oliver, who has many Asian-style dishes in his repertoire, is following suit.

Going forward, Oliver will refer to this ingredient simply as “lime leaves” in his recipes and TV shows, reports the Daily Mail. The Naked Chef's team is also reviewing his online content to remove references to the k-word with regard to this fruit in previously published recipes.

I say bravo on both fronts, but wonder why it has taken international retailers and chefs so long to be cognisant of the impact of this deeply-hurtful word?