The Cookbook Challenge ~ Week 20 Tangy

Have you ever tried a finger lime?  You really must.  Sometimes called citrus caviar, its an Australian native that was all but wiped out from land clearing for white settlement.  Gaining in popularity over recent years there are now several companies that grow them and that are working to restore the sub-tropical rainforests that are the natural habitat.

There are many different varieties, I think I read 74 somewhere but I could be wrong, with the “caviar pearls” ranging in colour from green, yellow and translucent to pink and an almost burgundy colour.  The taste well, it’s tangy!!  Probably best described as somewhere between a lime and a pink grapefruit.

I am rather addicted to them at the moment and have been getting the Alstonville (green seedless) and Pink Ice (clear to pink) varieties whilst they are in season – harvest is late summer to autumn.

There are so many things you can do with them:

  • An attractive garnish on all seafoods, I think with all the different colours you can get they would look great on oysters or Japanese dishes
  • As a marinade for fish or other seafood – great little burst of flavour as you bite into a pearl
  • Sprinkle over a salad or add to the dressing to replace lime or lemon juice
  • The pulp is fantastic in alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.. I have tested them in gin and tonics but have also read that they are great in beer and champagne!!

  • Great with ice-cream and other desserts – I want to make a Finger Lime Tart
  • Finger limes would a wonderful replacement for lemon or citrus rind in cakes, muffins and bakery products.
  • Other uses might include jams, sauces and in curries….

…like this one which is not strictly from a cookbook, more of a booklet, but with its double tang hit of finger lime and tamarind I had to try it for this Challenge.

Theme: Tangy
Booklet: Australian Finger Lime Recipes by Finger Limeing Good
Recipe:  Malaysian Finger Lime And Chicken Curry


2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
7 finger limes, preferably yellow or light green, sliced in half lengthways, remove and save the pearls of one of the finger limes for the garnish
4 chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite size pieces
1 ½ tablespoons of fish sauce
3 tablespoons of tamarind puree
300 ml light coconut milk
1 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced

Curry paste:
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon shrimp (prawn) paste
4 whole cloves of garlic chopped
4 small red chillies, deseeded and sliced thinly, use only two chillies for a milder curry
2 teaspoons of finely grated galangal
2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, sliced
1 red onions, chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves, roughly chopped


To make the curry paste, put all the curry paste ingredients in a food processor and process until a thick paste forms. Alternatively you can do it in a mortar and pestle like I did.  I wanted to practice my technique after watching David Thompson teach Poh how to do it properly on Poh’s kitchen.  I think I am getting better, it’s fun pretending that I am anyway.

Heat the oil in a wok until it starts to smoke, add the curry paste and cook until fragrant about 2 minutes then add the chicken, stir the chicken through to coat with the paste, cook for a further 3 minutes.  I struggle to have dishes without vegetables in them so I actually added some roughly chopped okra, beans and red capsicum at this point.

Add the tamarind puree, fish sauce, coconut milk and the finger limes. The air should be heavy with the wonderful aroma of this by now.

Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the chicken is cooked through, garnish with the kaffir lime leaves and pulp of finger lime. Serve with rice.

This is definitely a dish I will make again.  Very easy, very tasty and doesn’t take too long.  You can eat the whole lime after it has been simmering away.  The rind really breaks down and softens and has a lovely flavour.  All I need to do is work out if I can freeze finger limes (or the pearls) to use throughout the year.


  • Reply April 9, 2010


    I put some of the pearls in a batch of Poor Man’s Caviar (eggplant) dip last weekend. Had them all guessing. Little round bursts of sourness.

  • Reply April 9, 2010

    Lisa @ bakebikeblog

    I have never heard of these before – how intriguing! I will have to quiz my local greengrocer and ask him to get some in 🙂

  • Reply April 9, 2010

    penny aka jeroxie

    Yes. I tried this before. Very very sour! Should try it in a drink next time.

  • Reply April 9, 2010


    i never heard of it. sounds cool! this dish looks really awesome, jo.

  • Reply April 9, 2010


    These limes look amazing. Where do you get them from? I would love to try it.

  • Reply April 10, 2010


    I’ve wanted to try fingerlimes ever since I saw them on Food Lovers’ Guide to Australia, maybe 5 years ago?! I’ve never seen them available in Canberra though. Methinks I’ll have to do some farmers’ market searching upon my return!

    Because, you know what? That gin and tonic looks divine.

  • Reply April 11, 2010


    I’ve heard of finger limes before but never seen or tasted them. I am curious to try them, especially if they are like citrus caviar! I just love the pop you get from salmon caviar!

    P.S. Just a reminder if you want your recipe included in the weekly round ups, could you please send me an email with the Cookbook Challenge week & theme, the link and the recipe name? Thanks heaps! Have included your recipe for this week’s theme.

  • Reply April 11, 2010


    Another person who has never tried them but has wanted to! Where do you get yours from? I’ve never seen them for sale.

    • Reply April 12, 2010


      Okay – seems everyone wants to know where they can get finger limes! I have been getting mine from Damien Pike (The Mushroom Specialist) at Prahran Market here in Melbourne. I have also seen them, and this is bizarre, at my local Coles supermarket.

      I think if you ask at your local greengrocer or market (or even Coles) you may be lucky.

      Be quick though as it is nearing the end of the season.

  • Reply April 12, 2010

    Conor @ HoldtheBeef

    Hooray for showcasing bush tucker! This is a fantastic recipe, and I would definitely have added a pile ‘o veges too 🙂 Thanks so much for reminding me to try and hunt down some bush limes, you’re an Aussie legend 😉

  • Reply April 12, 2010


    That’s very interesting! I’d never tried it before. I feel curious now..

    The dish looks delicious too, looking from the ingredients my husband would’ve loved this!

  • Reply April 13, 2010


    What a great little surprise dish…thanks for introducing me to these little gems.

  • Reply May 5, 2010

    Lena Fuerst

    My partner and I served this for our the evening meal at the weekend. Everybody adored it, most definitely I’ll be offering it frequently now, it is really excellent to find new suggestions for dishes together with easy to understand ways to create them. Thanks for posting them.

    • Reply May 11, 2010


      Hi Lena,
      That’s great! I am really excited to hear that you made it and loved it. Thanks for visiting my blog and taking the time to let me know.

  • […] asam) Kat from Spatula, Spoon and Saturday – Sweet & sour prawns Jo from Second Helping – Malaysian finger lime & chicken curry Penny from Jeroxie – Monk fish & […]

  • Reply November 26, 2011

    Richard Hait

    I’ll be sure to check out your blog again in the future if you keep posting stuff like this. Thanks for the good read!

  • Reply January 30, 2012


    you can freeze fingerlimes very successfully. I have a tree of my own, Pink variety. I just wash the fruit, leave them whole and put into ziplock bags. When i want one i just left it out of the freezer and they thaw out in no time at all. The little fruit viscules are still whole.

  • Reply February 1, 2013


    Hi I have finger limes that I sell & send to clients interstate. Feel free to call to reserve your serve of the tasty morsels. Excellent in cocktails, beer, salads & desserts.

    Tina 0422771132

Leave a Reply